Coast Guard continues search for missing Big Island kayaker

HONOLULU — The U.S. Coast Guard today continues the search for Miguel Serussino, a kayaker last seen Saturday near Kapa’a Beach Park on the Big Island. Search patterns have been planned for assets through tonight into Tuesday morning.

The Coast Guard asks anyone with information on Serussino or sightings of a yellow kayak or paddle in the area of Kapa’a Beach near Kawaihae to call 808-842-2600.

On scene today were crewmembers aboard an HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter and C-130 long-range search plane from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, the 110-foot patrol boat Galveston Island and a Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel.

Rescuers with the Hawaii County Fire Department, U.S. Navy and Civil Air Patrol are also assisting on the search, which will have covered more than 7,000 square miles — an area almost twice the size of the Big Island — by sunset tonight.

The search is focused on the Alenuihaha Channel between Maui and the Big Island, and the coastline around Kohala, Kawaihae and Upolu Point. Searchers on scene today reported winds from the southeast at 20 knots, seas of three-to-five feet and visibility of more than eight miles.

Rescue personnel began the search Sunday morning for the 26-year-old man, who was last seen wearing multi-colored shorts and a dark blue T-shirt while paddling with relatives Saturday.

Early Sunday morning, relatives of Serussino contacted the Hawaii County Fire Department, which in turn notified the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard launched an HH-65 and C-130 at 8:30 a.m. Sunday to assist HCFD with the search. Early Monday, the 18-person crew of the Galveston Island arrived on scene to assist.

“If you think someone may be in danger out on the water, please do not hesitate to call for assistance,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Andrew Reyes, a search and rescue controller with the Coast Guard’s 24-hour command center in Honolulu.

“Time is of the essence when mariners go missing on the water, especially in a place as dynamic as the Alenuihaha Channel between Maui and the Big Island. We’re doing all we can right now by bringing as many resources to bear as possible.”

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