Search suspended for missing Kona diver

KAILUA-KONA — Police have taken over the case of a 45-year-old Kailua-Kona man reported as missing after he did not return from a dive Friday night in Kailua Bay.

Alan Delatorre did not return home following the Friday night solo dive, and neither family nor friends have heard from him since, the Hawaii Police Department said Monday. Delatorre is described as having a medium build, standing at 5 feet, 4 inches tall, and weighing 156 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes.

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Delatorre’s truck was located Sunday morning in the area of Uncle Billy’s Kona Bay Hotel in Kailua Village. A dive buoy that is believed to belong to Delatorre was also located approximately 100 yards offshore of the former Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. on Alii Drive.

A search ensued, and Hawaii Fire Department divers subsequently recovered clothes and diving equipment in the waters near the buoy, police said. The items were identified as belonging to Delatorre.

Police said the fire department indicated the damage to the clothing to be attributed to sharks.

The U.S. Coast Guard also assisted in the effort by diverting Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake to the scene, launching an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and crew and issuing an urgent marine information broadcast, said Chief Petty Officer Sara Muir of the U.S. Coast Guard District 14 in Honolulu.

Muir said the dive float had reportedly been seen in the same location on Saturday, but because there were no missing persons reported, rescue personnel stood down that day. She said the equipment located by fire rescue personnel on Sunday was consistent with diving and spear fishing and the Coast Guard was released from the effort.

Helen Delatorre, who identified herself as Alan’s wife, said her husband liked to dive at different places around Kona. Despite the time that’s lapsed since he was last seen or heard from, Helena said the family, including his two children, remain hopeful he will return.

“They haven’t found his body yet,” she said.

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The Hawaii Fire Department said it suspended the active search Sunday after finding the man’s belongings and speaking with the family.

Anyone with information on Delatorre’s whereabouts should contact HPD Officer Adam Cho at (808) 326-4646, ext. 296, or the department’s nonemergency line at (808) 935-3311.

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