Search ends for missing kayak fisherman


A possible shark sighting near Kawaihae Harbor on Saturday afternoon forced the Hawaii Fire Department to end its search for a 66-year-old man whose unmanned kayak was found Thursday morning drifting in waters of the Kawaihae coastline.

The search was terminated shortly before 4 p.m. Saturday after a shark was reportedly sighted near the harbor, said West Hawaii Battalion Chief Reuben Chun. Despite a third day searching the coastline, rescue crews found no sign of the man, he said. The Hawaii Fire Department’s standard protocal is to search for three days.

He said the state Department of Land and Natural Resources was notified of the possible sighting. The department was unable to be reached for information on any possible beach closings or advisories.

Steven Wycoff was last seen about 10 a.m. Thursday fishing in waters off the harbor from his green kayak, according to the Hawaii Fire Department. His unmanned kayak was found an hour later floating about 50 yards offshore and about 300 yards north of the mouth of the harbor.

U.S. Coast Guard, state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the fire department assisted in the three-day search that turned up no sign of Wycoff.

Wycoff, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, is a well-known fisherman in the Kawaihae area. The Coast Guard suspended its search at sunset on Friday. There was “no indication of any particular scenario” occurring aboard the kayak, according to the Coast Guard.