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UPDATE: Search Halted for Missing Kayaking Fisherman

Posted June 28, 2013, 09:23 AM HST Updated June 30, 2013, 10:29 AM HST
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The kayak was found without its occupant about 50 yards offshore and 300 yards north of the mouth of Kawaihae Harbor, seen in the middle right in the photo above. File photo.

***Updated at 10:22 a.m. Sunday, June 30.***

A search for a fisherman missing off the Kawaihae coast was called off after three days Saturday, a fire department spokesman said.

The search was ended following consultation with the missing man’s family, the spokesman said.

The Coast Guard said it suspended its efforts to find the kayaker, identified as 66-year-old Steven Wycoff, on Friday night after searching more than 228 square miles using aircraft, vessels and divers.

“After a thorough search effort alongside the Hawaii County Fire Department, we’ve come to the difficult decision to suspend this search,” Capt. Shannon Gilreath, Sector Honolulu’s commander said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time.”

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Wycoff, who was known to frequent the area, became separated from his kayak Thursday morning.

His vessel was later found 50 yards offshore about 300 yards north of the mouth of Kawaihae Harbor with fishing gear and a cooler aboard.

Posted 9:23 a.m.:

A search was continuing today for a 66-year-old man who became separated from his kayak while fishing off the South Kohala coast Thursday morning.

The fire department said man was last seen by other boaters at approximately 10 a.m.

However, about an hour later, a passing vessel noticed the green kayak floating unattended 50 yards from shore and 300 yards north of the Kawaihae Harbor entrance. It had fishing gear and a cooler still on board.

A search was conducted Thursday from the sea, air and land by a variety of agencies without success.

Those taking part included the Coast Guard, Hawaii Fire Department, Hawaii Police Department and state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Coast Guard resources being used included a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter launched from the Air Station Barbers Point and the Cutter Kittiwake from Honolulu.

The fire department was using a rescue boat as well as both of its helicopters to search for the missing man.

The Coast Guard continued its search through the night and the fire department was going to resume its efforts this morning at first light.

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