U.S. Coast Guard suspends search for missing North Shore kayaker

HONOLULU — The U.S.Coast Guard suspended the search for Russell Yoshida, a 53-year-old kayaker first reported missing near Waialua on Oahu's North Shore Monday.

The Coast Guard notified his family and officially suspended its search at 7:30 p.m., pending any further developments. The Honolulu Fire Department will search the shoreline again today beginning at first light.

The Coast Guard coordinated search patterns for 17 different search sorties by surface and air assets that combed a small area between Kaena and Kahuku Points on the North Shore. The search was focused around Waialua and out to approximately 12 miles. The Coast Guard even searched part of the Kauai Channel.

Since first arriving on scene at 9 p.m. Monday, the Coast Guard searched continuously with rotary and fixed-wing aircraft and a 110-foot patrol boat, the 18-member Galveston Island.

Capt. Barry Compagnoni is confident the Coast Guard's search area yielded the most probable location for Yoshida, whose paddle was recovered Monday night. Some personal effects were also discovered in the surf zone Tuesday.

"We have a high degree of confidence that we would have found him in that area," said Compagnoni, the commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu and the senior-most officer responsible for the search. "It is with a heavy heart that we suspend this search … we simply do not have anywhere else to look. Our hearts and thoughts are with Russell's family and friends."

Compagnoni talked with family members tonight after Coast Guard aircraft crews completed search patterns just after dark.

Today, air crews aboard an HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter and C-130 long-range search plane from Air Station Barbers Point scoured the area, where searchers reported winds from the northeast at 20 mph and seas of 15 feet.

Computer drift models that factor wind and sea currents and on scene conditions produced a search area that was extremely focused around Yoshida's last-known position on the beach near Waialua where he launched his kayak.

Also assisting during the three-day search were U.S. Navy air crews aboard a P-3 Orion fixed-wing plane and a SH-60 Seahawk helicopter from the HSL Squadron 37 based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe.

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