Coast Guard search for missing Big Island kayaker continues

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

Searchers aboard U.S. Coast Guard and Navy aircraft and aboard a Coast Guard cutter will have searched more than 12,000 square miles — an area approximately three times the size of the Big Island — by sunset tonight.

The search is focused around the shoreline of the Kohala area and off shore in the Alenuihaha Channel, the water between the Big Island and Maui. That channel is generally regarded as one of the most treacherous channels in the world because of strong winds and high seas.

“We haven’t had any new information,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Jeoffrey Nielsen, a search and rescue controller with the Coast Guard’s 24-hour command center in Honolulu. “We are saturating the area with as many assets as possible and we are working closely with the Navy and Hawaii County Fire Department.”

The Coast Guard was notified early Sunday morning by the Hawaii County Fire Department that Miguel Serussino, 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 three days to scour the Alenuihaha and off shore. Searchers reported today winds from the southeast at more than 25 knots and seas of six-to-eight feet.

On scene today were a crew aboard a Navy P-3 based 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 has searched continuously since early Monday morning.

The Coast Guard will reevaluate the situation after overnight searches Tuesday and first-light searches Wednesday.

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

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