Coast Guard, Hawaii Fire Department suspend Big Island search for missing swimmer

Hawaii-Pacific Coast Guard News
HONOLULU — The Coast Guard and Hawaii County Fire Department suspended the search at sunset Thursday for a man last seen Monday night at the north end of Waipio Valley Beach on the Big Island.

Wtchstanders in the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center were notified of the situation at approximately 4:15 p.m., Tuesday, by the Hawaii County fire department. The report stated that a man had gone swimming off the northeast coast of the Big Island and had not been seen since Monday night.

The Coast Guard searched with air and sea assets for the 62-year-old male John Spillane for nearly three days. The Coast Guard’s search area covered over 3,750 miles. Hawaii County Fire Department’s search included air, sea and shore assets as well as divers.

The Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center gathered data using self locating data marker buoys and the search and rescue optimal planning system. To calculate search areas in the complex currents of the Hawaiian Islands, watchstanders use the SAROPS. SAROPS is a software system that uses simulated particles generated by users in a graphical interface. These particles are then influenced by environmental data to provide information on search object drift. Using information on a point of origin and local currents, it calculates the most likely area to find a person in the water.

Allthough the Coast Guard and Hawaii County Fire Department have suspended their search, the Hawaii County Police Department will continue a missing persons investigation. Anyone with information on Spillane or his next of kin are requested to contact the Hawaii County Police Department.

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