The United States Coast Guard (USCG) have officially suspended their search for missing OC1 paddler, 66-year-old Michael Kitagawachi of Hōnaunau.
Published by: HIRSC - Hawaii Island (Hōlualoa) Team
The Coast Guard suspended the active search for Michael Kitagawachi off Honaunau Beach, Monday.
Kitagawachi, 66-years-old, remains missing.
“Since Saturday our crews have worked closely with the Hawaii County Fire Department covering over 749 square nautical miles during 59 search hours,” said Darin McCracken, a search and rescue planner with Sector Honolulu. “During that time there has been no sign of Mr. Kitagawachi. While it is a difficult decision to make, we suspended the search after sunset today pending new information.”
The search had been ongoing since Saturday when Kitagawachi’s canoe was found adrift 1-mile off Honaunau Beach where he regularly paddles. His vehicle was found at the beach with his phone inside.
Involved in the Search:
- Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews
- An Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew
- The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter William Hart (WPC 1134)
- A Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 (HSM-37) MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter aircrew
- A Hawaii County Fire Department air and ground crews
- A Hawaii County Fire Department boat crew
- Good Samaritans aboard private vessels
At 10:35 a.m., Saturday, Sector Honolulu watchstanders received a report from the Hawaii County Fire Department stating a good Samaritan found a canoe adrift off shore.
It was discovered the canoe belonged to Kitagawachi and his car was found at the beach.
Watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast notice to mariners, launched the Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter William Hart (WPC 1134) to conduct searches of the area.
Hawaii County Fire Department also deployed ground crews, a helicopter crew, and a boat crew in response.
A Navy Sea Hawk aircrew also joined in the search while good Samaritans aboard recreational vessels assisted over the following days.
The weather on scene at the time of the call was seas less than 1 foot with light and variable winds.