The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) along with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) continues to search for a paddler who went missing on Saturday morning (June 5th) offshore of Hōnaunau Bay, South Kona.
Published by: HIRSC - Hawaii Island (Hōlualoa and Kamuela) Team
(Photos courtesy of HIRSC - Administrator Benjamin Agdeppa, please message Ben directly for photo use, mahalo.)
The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) along with the Hawaii Police Department (HPD), Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), and United States Coast Guard responded to a report of a missing paddler last seen in waters offshore of Hōnaunau Bay (Two-Step Beach) in South Kona on Saturday morning (June 5th).
The initial call came in at 10:36 am Saturday morning and HFD Crews from the Captain Cook and Kailua (Rescue Company 7) Fire Stations along with Chopper 1, Battalion 2, USCG C-130/MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter/William Hart Cutter from Honolulu, DLNR - DOCARE Officers, and HPD Officers from the Kona Patrol responded to the scene at Hōnaunau Bay in South Kona.
Upon the arrival of emergency crews, a report came in from bystanders (or fishermen on a boat) reporting discovering of an empty one-man canoe floating in waters approximately 1 mile offshore of Hōnaunau Bay. Bystanders had searched for over 1/2 mile in all directions and came up with negative findings. They then brought the canoe back to shore, where a family member later arrived at the Hōnaunau Boat Ramp and confirmed that the canoe belonged to a 66-year-old male paddler, who was last seen or heard from earlier on Saturday morning. They later located the paddler's vehicle near Two-Step Beach with his phone located inside the vehicle. Family members and bystanders awaited the arrival of emergency crews.
Once emergency crews arrived at the scene, HFD crews immediately began a search of the immediate area by land, and HFD Rescue Crews, Chopper 1, USCG HC-130 Hercules, Cutter, MH-65 Helicopter, and DLNR - DOCARE on jet skis later arrived at the scene to begin searching the surrounding waters and shoreline by air and sea. Numerous bystanders in outrigger canoes, on private boats, and jet skis also assisted emergency crews in searching the surrounding waters all the way to Ho'okena Beach through Saturday afternoon.
The search on Saturday encompassed waters from Ke'ei Point (Ke'ei Beach) to Ho'okena Beach and extended as far out as 3 miles by HFD personnel and bystanders. USCG continued grid searches further offshore of Hōnaunau Bay and was expected to continue searching through Saturday evening.
As of 6:53 pm Saturday evening, HFD Crews had suspended their search for the missing male paddler and came up with negative findings. Crews are expected to continue their search at first light on Sunday morning (June 6th) for a second day.
The 66-year-old male paddler being described as being 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighing 155 pounds, and was last seen wearing a white long sleeve rash guard and black board shorts. The male paddler was also described as a very seasoned paddler who frequents the waters of Hōnaunau Bay.
USCG Watchstanders also issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast notice to mariners to be on the lookout for the missing paddler. Waterway users in the area are asked to keep a sharp lookout for signs of distress and anyone with information is requested to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center at 808-842-2600.