Coast Guard search for Big Island kayaker continues through Friday

HONOLULU — The U.S. Coast Guard will continue searching tonight and Friday for a kayaker last seen Saturday near Kapa’a Beach Park on the Big Island.

Crews aboard air and surface assets from the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and Civil Air Patrol have searched an area of approximately 16,000 square miles – an area more than four times larger than the Big Island itself.

The search is focused around the shoreline of the North Kohala District and off shore in the Alenuihaha Channel, the water between the Big Island and Maui. Search patterns will have air assets on scene tonight and at first light Friday. Pending developments, the case will be reevaluated at that time.

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 five days to scour the Alenuihaha and off shore.

On scene today were a crew aboard a P-3 Orion based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe, crews aboard two HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopters and a long-range C-130 crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point. Also, the 18-person crew of the 110-foot patrol boat Galveston Island searched around the clock for three days before returning to Oahu Wednesday evening.

“We believe we still have a chance to find him if he’s out there,” said Chief Petty Officer Seth Haynes, a search and rescue controller with the Coast Guard’s 24-hour command center in Honolulu. “We have good information on where he was last seen, we have had windy, but clear search conditions and we have brought as many assets to bear as possible. It’s a situation where someone on a kayak on the surface of the water still has a chance.”

Weather on scene today was reported by searchers to be east winds at 15 knots, seas of two-to-five feet and visibility of 10 miles. A small craft advisory was issued for the Alenuihaha Channel, however, because of gusty winds up to 25 knots.

Ferrufino was last seen wearing multi-colored shorts and a dark blue T-shirt while paddling with relatives Saturday.The Coast Guard asks anyone with information about Ferrufino or sightings of a yellow kayak or paddle in the area of Kapa’a Beach near Kawaihae to call 808-842-2600.

NOTE: Earlier reports gave a different spelling of Ferrufino’s last name based on information provided by his kayaking partners. Ferrufino’s family notified us of the correct spelling.

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