Coast Guard searching for fisherman missing near American Samoa after falling overboard

14th Coast Guard District NewsHONOLULU – The Coast Guard is searching for an 18-year-old mariner who fell overboard 115 miles south of American Samoa, Monday.

Watchstanders in Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu were notified Sunday that the master of the U.S.-flagged fishing vessel Siva Moana fell overboard while recovering fishing gear. He was not wearing a lifejacket.

A Royal New Zelaland Air Force P-3 Orion search plane was launched to begin a search as the Coast Guard prepared to launch. A Coast Guard aircrew piloting an HC-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Barbers Point was launched Sunday to assist in the search. The Hercules aircrew relieved the crew of the P-3 and searched Sunday. The Hercules crew completed a search with no sign of the mariner before landing in Pago Pago, American Samoa. The aircrew planned to conduct another search Monday.

Coast Guard watchstanders are utilizing the Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System to determine the search area with the highest probability for locating the missing mariner. SAROPS is a computer program which calculates environmental factors such as weather, wind speed and direction, current speed and direction and the size of the search object. From that data, a search area is calculated. In addition to SAROPS, the Hercules aircrew deployed two self-locating data marker buoys, which also calculate and measure currents to better assist search and rescue teams in coordinating their search patterns.

The Siva Moana remains in the area and begann searching at first light.

The HC-130 Hercules provides the Coast Guard the ability to conduct long-range searches across the Pacific. These aircraft, which have been in service for more than five decades across the Coast Guard, are being modernized to meet long range maritime patrol requirements in areas such as the Pacific, that cannot be patrolled efficiently by medium range surveillance aircraft or cutters. Six HC-130J models have been added to the fleet and 16 HC-130H models are being modernized. These airplanes offer extended range, which allows aircrews to fly longer and farther. The upgraded models are a part of the Coast Guard’s ongoing acquisition program, an initiative to improve and sustain the service’s aging fleet. Air Station Barbers Point has four HC-130H models.

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