East Hawaii News

UPDATE: Still No Sign of Fisherman Missing in Puna

June 8, 2014, 4:25 PM HST
* Updated June 9, 5:35 PM
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***Updated 5:32 p.m. Monday, June 9.***

The Hawaii County Fire Department today continued its search for a 56-year-old man who fell into the ocean while fishing Friday night.

Battalion Chief Warren Sumida said the department’s Chopper 1 did an aerial search from Cape Kumakahi south to Kalapana, a distance of about 16 miles.

Scuba divers searched the area from Malama Flats near MacKenzie Park to a mile south.

Malama Flats was where the missing man, identified by sources as Arnold Asato of Hilo, either slipped or was washed into the ocean by a wave.

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A fire department boat also did a search of the shoreline.

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Sumida said today was the last scheduled day of the search but the department would be back out Tuesday.

“The family requested an extension of the search for one more day,” he said.

Posted 4:25 p.m. Sunday, June 8:

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A search resumed today for a fisherman missing since Friday night off the Puna coast.

The 56-year-old Hilo man was swept out to sea at about 9 p.m. after either slipping or being hit by a wave on a 10-foot cliff near the MacKenzie State Recreation Area.

Big Island Now has learned that the missing man is Arnold “Arnie” Asato, a longtime starter at the Hilo Municipal Golf Course.

Asato was fishing on the shoreline fronting Malama Flats, located on the north side of MacKenzie Park.

One of several witnesses at the scene tried unsuccessfully to pull Asato from the water.

Asato was wearing black rain gear when he disappeared.

After being notified at 9:40 p.m. Friday, the Coast Guard sent the Hilo-based cutter Kiska to the area and dispatched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Barbers Point on Oahu.

File photo.

File photo.

The search continued on Saturday and again this morning.

The fire department has conducted an aerial search up to a half-mile offshore, while divers combed the area in front of Malama Flats. A shoreline search was conducted from Pohoiki to Kaimu Beach.

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