Two U.S. Coast Guard air crews, Good Samaritan help rescue missing

HONOLULU — A fisherman reported missing Monday night was found clinging to an overturned 14-foot pleasure craft 10 miles southwest of Oahu at 6 a.m. Tuesday by U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue crews.

Search and rescue controllers with Coast Guard Sector Honolulu’s 24-hour command center in Honolulu Harbor were notified by the Honolulu Fire Department late Monday of a missing fisherman in a 14-foot vessel. The fisherman had left Waianae Small Boat Harbor earlier in the day at 6 a.m. and was heading toward Kaena Point.

The 25-year-old fisherman text messaged a friend via cell phone at 11:30 a.m. Monday to say he was returning to shore because of poor fishing. Last night, HFD and Honolulu Police Department officers confirmed the subject’s truck and trailer were still parked at the harbor. HFD launched a shore search and its Air 1 helicopter and the Coast Guard launched an air crew aboard an HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter from Air Station Barbers Point.

At first light Tuesday, HFD’s Air 1 began a shoreline search out to three nautical miles and two Coast Guard air crews — one aboard an HH-65 and the other aboard a C-130 long-range search plane — began searching from three to 15 nautical miles off shore.

The pilot of the C-130 saw the fisherman waving for help in the middle of the Coast Guard’s projected search area. The command center’s SAR search and rescue controllers had accounted for drift, winds and sea currents.

The Coast Guard had been reading over VHF marine band radio channel 16 an urgent marine information broadcast or UMIB and another fishing vessel in the area picked up the distressed fisherman. The fisherman had drifted approximately 10 miles southwest of the Waianae Coast.

The Coast Guard advises mariners that among practical safety tips are the use of a VHF radio and use of a Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device PFD.

Remembering a few other safety precautions can also ensure boaters enjoy a safe time on the water:

  • File a float plan — tell someone where you are going, when you will be back, the names of persons aboard and what route you plan on traveling;
  • Use safety equipment — travel with a marine VHF radio or another form of communication such as an emergency position indicating radio beacon EPIRB. Being able to contact the Coast Guard is critical in case of an emergency;
  • Don’t drink and boat — boating while intoxicated is against the law and can result in arrest or worse, cause a fatal accident;
  • Be aware of the weather — the National Weather Service broadcasts marine weather forecasts regularly at www.nws.noaa.gov/ and for more information on boating safety, visit www.uscgboating.org.

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