Coast Guard, local agencies, suspend search for Coast Guardsman

Hawaii-Pacific Coast Guard NewsHONOLULU — The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended the search for Petty Officer 1st Class Russell Matthews, an aviation survival technician from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Oahu, Thursday.

“The decision to suspend a search is one of the hardest a commanding officer has to make, all the more so when it is one of our own,” said Captain Joanna Nunan, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu commanding officer. “Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family and friends of Petty Officer Matthews during this difficult time.”

Matthews’ car was discovered Wednesday morning by the Honolulu Police Department at a Kaena Point, Oahu, parking lot. The Honolulu Fire Department conducted an aerial, shoreline and offshore search for Matthews early Wednesday before contacting the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu, notifying them that the car belonged to a Coast Guardsman.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point deployed to assist in the search at approximately 4 a.m., Wednesday. The Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island began searching offshore while personnel assisted local authorities in a shoreline search. A Navy P3 Orion airplane crew helped with the search during Wednesday night.

Multiple land and air searches continued Thursday. The Galveston Island, Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews continued to search offshore. Four self locating datum marker buoys were deployed to assess wind and current direction in order to identify search areas. Hawaii Fire Department’s Air One helicopter as well as ground crews searched the north and south shores of Kaena Point throughout Thursday.

Coast Guard aircraft, Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake and Coast Guard Station Honolulu crews continued operations within search areas Friday. Hawaii Fire Department’s Air One helicopter crew, as well as ground teams, continued to conduct shoreline searches. Ocean Safety, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and other volunteers also assisted with shoreline searches.

After an exhausting search by multiple agencies, totaling more than 10,000 square miles, the search was suspended at approximately 6 p.m. pending further information.

Individuals with any information are asked to contact the Honolulu Police Department by dialing 911 or the Coast Guard Sector Command Center at (808) 842-2600.

Matthews has been stationed at Air Station Barbers Point since 2007 and has been in the Coast Guard since 1997.

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