Coast Guard searching for missing person off Big Island

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Ahi (WPB 87364), an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Honolulu, are shown conducting a search for five crewmembers aboard a downed Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter approximately two miles west of Ka’ena Point, Oahu, Aug. 16, 2017. Two Black Hawk aircrews were reportedly conducting night training Aug. 15, between Ka’ena Point and Dillingham Airfield when communications were lost with one of the helicopters. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Released)

Coast Guard Cutter Ahi file photo

HONOLULU — The Coast Guard and Hawaii County Fire Department are searching for a missing 40-year-old man off the coast of the Big Island near Honokaa, Thursday.

“The man was last seen wearing a red long-sleeve shirt with camouflage pants and a black backpack. He was with a friend harvesting Opihi,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Alvin Seguin, a Coast Guard Sector Honolulu watchstander. “We request all waterway users in the area to keep a sharp lookout for signs of distress and anyone with information to contact us at 808-842-2600.”

Both men were swept offshore by a wave. The second picker was initially in distress, but made it back to shore under his own power and was assisted by Hawaii County Fire Department ground crews. It is unknown if he sustained any injuries.

Currently engaged in the search:

  • The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Walnut (WLB 205)
  • A Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew
  • Hawaii County Fire Department first responder ground crews
  • Hawaii County Fire Department helicopter crew
  • An Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Ahi (WPB 87364) crew

At 6:37 p.m., Sector Honolulu watchstanders received a report from the Hawaii County Fire Department stating they were notified by the man’s friends of the incident. The friends were searching for the two men as they failed to return by a set time. The searchers made contact with the second man by yelling their names over a cliff along the shore. The man who made it to shore answered back from the bottom of a 60-foot cliff face.

The Hawaii County Fire Department deployed ground crews to rescue the man from the shoreline, and their helicopter crew to search for the missing man.

Sector Honolulu watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast (UMIB) Notice and diverted the nearby crew of the Walnut, the Hercules aircrew, and the Dolphin crew to search the area. The crew of the Ahi is en-route to assist.

The weather on scene is reportedly winds of 17 mph and seas up to 4 feet.

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