Search resumes for missing fisherman


Big Island rescue and U.S. Coast Guard personnel this morning resumed the search for a 66-year-old fisherman whose kayak was found Thursday morning floating in waters about 50 yards offshore of Kawaihae Harbor in South Kohala.

The man, whose name and place of residence has yet to be released, was apparently fishing from his green kayak off the Kawaihae coast when he was last seen about 10 a.m. by boaters in the area, according to the Hawaii Fire Department. His unmanned kayak was found around 11 a.m. Thursday floating about 50 yards offshore and about 300 yards north of the mouth of the harbor.

The missing kayaker is described as 6 feet tall and weighing 180 pounds, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. He was last seen wearing black shorts and a fishing shirt.

Crews spent Thursday searching the coastline by air and ground while divers scoured the waters, according to the fire department, which noted it utilized two Hawaii County helicopters, a rescue boat and 15 personnel. The U.S. Coast Guard assisted with a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake from the Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point.

The Coast Guard is using Self Locating Datum Marker Buoys and the Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System to coordinate the maritime searches. They are designed to use environmental data to provide the most probable drift of a person in the water.

The fire department resumed search efforts about 5 a.m. Friday with 13 personnel. A helicopter and rescue boat are also assisting, said West Hawaii Battalion Chief Ty Medeiros. The Hawaii Fire Department’s standard protocal is to search for three days.

U.S. Coast Guard crews have also resumed their search.

The Coast Guard is asking mariners in the area of the Kawaihae and the northwest side of Hawaii Island to keep an eye out for the man and to report any sightings to the Coast Guard over VHF marine radio channel 16 or contact the Sector Honolulu Command Center at 842-2600.