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NEWS | Oct. 30, 2023

Joint responders conduct successful rescue of missing divers offshore of Guam

By Chief Warrant Officer Sara Muir, U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia / Sector Guam

In a display of teamwork, a successful search and rescue operation unfolded Oct. 28, as the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy searched for and rescued three missing divers near Santa Rosa Banks, approximately 25 nautical miles off the coast of Agat, Guam.

Following search patterns designed by the U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam Joint Rescue Sub-Center team, Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two-Five personnel, using an MH-60 Knighthawk helicopter, located the three divers a few miles from their original location at about 3:45 p.m. and performed a successful hoist operation, ensuring their safe rescue.

Watchstanders at JRSC Guam received the initial distress call from the operator of the dive boat at approximately 1 p.m. after the divers failed to surface at 11 a.m. as planned, prompting an immediate and urgent response. The three men reportedly embarked on a recreational dive south of Guam, wearing distinctive bright t-shirts with diving lights and safety sausages. All three divers are considered very experienced; their emergency plan was to surface together if they encountered any issues.

Dedicated teams swiftly mobilized for the rescue operation. Responding units included the JRSC Guam team, U.S. Coast Guard Station Apra Harbor using a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium, and HSC-25.

The critical aviation support provided by the HSC-25 Knighthawk crew proved vital to the success of this mission. There are no reported injuries, but responders delivered the divers to U.S. Naval Hospital Guam for an additional check-up out of caution.

Lt. Cmdr. Christine Igisomar expressed her gratitude for the dedicated response crews, saying, "This successful rescue underscores the exceptional skills and dedication of our search and rescue teams. Their swift efforts, combined with the crucial aviation support, played a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of these divers. In this region with vast swaths of open ocean, aviation support is often the lifeline that makes all the difference."

Weather conditions in the area were favorable during the operation, with winds blowing from the east at 13 mph and seas reaching up to 3 feet.