Coast Guard suspends search for missing man near Ka’alu’alu Bay

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB 1349)

USCG File Photo

HONOLULU — The Coast Guard suspended the active search Friday for a man in the water in the vicinity of Ka’alu’alu Bay on the Big Island.

Shane Romena, 48, remains missing.

“Our sincerest condolences go out to Romena’s family and friends during this difficult time,” said Senior Chief Brian Wear, a command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “Suspending a case is never an easy thing to do and it’s something that is handled with the utmost care and consideration. We want to thank our partners at the Hawai’i Fire Department for all their assistance during this search.”

On-scene assets searched a total area of more than 1,615 square miles (1,404 square nautical miles) over a 4-day period.

Involved in the search were:

  • HC-130 Hercules airplane and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB 1349), homeported in Honolulu
  • Hawai’i Fire Department helicopter aircrews and shore parties

Watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu command center received a relayed 911 emergency call from dispatchers shortly after 6 p.m., Monday, stating Romena’s 10-year-old son had witnessed him fall into the water while trying to clean a cooler and he lost sight of him shortly after. The two were reportedly out fishing.

Two helicopter crews from the Hawai’i Fire Department conducted initial searches of the area but did not locate Romena. His son was airlifted from the rocky shoreline by HFD and brought to a designated landing zone where he was picked up by his grandmother.

Weather conditions on scene during the time of the incident were reported as 40 mph winds, seas to 8 feet with a 3-foot swell.

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