Coast Guard suspends search for missing Big Island kayaker

HONOLULU — The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for a kayaker last seen last Saturday near Kapa’a Beach Park on the Big Island.

Crews aboard air and surface assets from the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy and Civil Air Patrol searched an area more than 22,000 square miles, an area more than five times larger than the Big Island. The search was focused around the shoreline of the North Kohala District, between the Big Island and Maui, and the waters southwest of the Big Island.

The Coast Guard was notified early Sunday morning by the Hawaii County Fire Department that Miguel Ferrufino, 26, had not returned to shore from a paddling excursion Saturday. Search crews scoured the shoreline from north of Kailua, Kona, around Kohala and down to the Hamakua coastline for signs of the kayaker. Search assets were also launched the past six days to scour the Alenuihaha and off shore.

On scene Friday were a crew aboard a P-3 Orion based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe and a C-130 long-range search plane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point. Also, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island, a 110-foot patrol boat homeported here, the Civil Air Patrol, Coast Guard Auxiliary and Hawaii Fire Department have conducted 49 separate searches over the past five days.

Ferrufino was last seen wearing multi-colored shorts and a dark blue T-shirt while paddling with relatives Saturday.

“We saturated the area with all assets possible, but we were unable to find any sign of Ferrufino,” said Chief Petty Officer Seth Haynes, a search and rescue coordinator at Coast Guard District Fourteen. “It’s always unfortunate when we don’t reunite the missing with their family and friends.”

The Coast Guard asks anyone with information on Ferrufino or sightings of a yellow kayak or paddle in the area of Kapa’a Beach near Kawaihae or anywhere along the coast of the Big Island or Maui to call the Coast Guard at 808-842-2600.

The Coast Guard urges all who work and play on the water to practice safe boating at all times. Key safety items such as life jackets, signaling devices, VHF radioes, and float plans are vital should mariners find themselves in distress. For more boating safety information, please visit www.uscgboating.org.

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One Comment

  1. Ana Marie Gierhart says:

    Thank you guys for all you have done trying to find my cousin Miguel, I just wish you could continue searching a little longer. I think he is out there waiting for help. Any ways I am forever grateful to all of you for searching for him. May God bless.