Coast Guard suspends search for Big Island fisherman

14th Coast Guard District NewsHONOLULU – The Coast Guard suspended the multi-day search for overdue Big Island fisherman Mitchell Wailani at 10:12 p.m. Monday.

Wailani embarked on a multi-day fishing trip on July 5 and had not been in contact with family or friends since Thursday evening.

The 80 year-old Hawaii resident was reported overdue at approximately 4 p.m. Saturday. A Hawaii County Fire Department helicopter spotted and confirmed Wailani’s vessel aground with no one aboard in the vicinity of Papaikou, Hawaii Saturday evening.

The Hilo-based Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, HC-130 Hercules aircraft and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point partnered with the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Hawaii County Fire Department rescue crews to search the area. In total the search effort required 20 search patterns and covered an estimated 3,206 square miles from Hilo Bay to the Alenuihaha Channel.

“After saturating the search area with multiple assets over the course of three days, the difficult decision to suspend the search was made, pending any new information that develops,” said Coast Guard Sector Honolulu search and rescue specialist Charles Turner. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Wailani family.”

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