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UPDATE 2: Search for Missing Boater Suspended

December 4, 2016, 6:18 PM HST
* Updated December 8, 4:45 PM
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Courtesy photo.

The Coast Guard received a report of an unmanned, adrift dinghy found offshore of the Big Island, five miles north of Kawaihae and the Kohala district, Dec. 4, 2016. The dinghy has evidence of recent use with two fishing rods, tackle box and fresh fish in the cooler aboard. Courtesy photo.

UPDATE: Dec. 8

The Coast Guard suspended the active search Wednesday at sunset for the boater missing off the Big Island.

Derek Liu, 52, remains missing.

“Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Mr. Liu,” said Lt. Scott Carr, the Coast Guard 14th District public affairs officer. “We extend our thanks to our partners in the Hawaii County Fire Department and the Navy for their support and time on this search.”

Responders conducted a total of 26 sorties covering 820 square miles (713 square nautical miles) over four days.

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Involved in the search were:

  • Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • The crews of the USCGC Ahi (WPB 87364) and USCGC Kittiwake (WPB 87316)
  • Navy MH-60 Seahawk helicopter crews from HSM-37 at Kaneohe Bay
  • Hawaii County Fire Department air crews, boat crews and divers
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Watchstanders from the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received notification from the Hawaii County Fire Department Sunday morning regarding a 12-foot Zodiac dinghy found adrift offshore by a mariner. The dinghy had evidence of recent use with two fishing rods, tackle box and fresh fish in the cooler aboard.

UPDATE: Dec. 4, 10:40 p.m.

The Hawai‘i County Fire Department also responded to the report of the missing boaters on Sunday, Dec. 4, at noon.

Earlier that day, a 12-foot inflatable Zodiak-type boat was found afloat with no occupants approximately 1 mile off-shore of Kohala Estates. The fisherman who found it towed it to the Kawaihae boat ramp.

Upon arrival off-shore of th e area north of the 8 Mile Marker on Akoni Pule Highway, fire personnel conducted search efforts in the ocean area where one of the missing parties were last seen.

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The Hawai‘i Police Department also worked with Coast Guard to conduct an investigation and expanded the search area.

Officers met with the family of one of the missing boaters and confirmed he was not accounted for. He was last seen yesterday afternoon at home prior to leaving to go fishing.

There is a potential second missing party that has not been confirmed nor identified. Witness’ reports seeing two parties on board the boat yesterday.

Terminated search efforts at sundown and will resume  on Monday morning, Dec. 5.

ORIGINAL POST: Dec. 4, 6:18 p.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for two persons in the water off of the Big Island, five miles north of Kawaihae and the Kohala District, today, Sunday, Dec. 4.

The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for two persons in the water off of the Big Island, five miles north of Kawaihae and the Kohala District, today, Sunday, Dec. 4.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and the crew of the USCGC Ahi (WPB 87364) have been launched to search the surrounding areas.

The Coast Guard is searching for two possible persons in the water off of the Big Island, five miles north of Kawaihae and the Kohala district, Dec. 4, 2016. A green Nissan truck and trailer believed to belong to one of the boaters was left at the campsite. Courtesy photo.

The Coast Guard is searching for two possible persons in the water off of the Big Island, five miles north of Kawaihae and the Kohala district, Dec. 4, 2016. A green Nissan truck and trailer believed to belong to one of the boaters was left at the campsite. Courtesy photo.

Watchstanders from the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received notification from the Hawai‘i County Fire Department Sunday morning regarding a 12-foot Zodiac dinghy found adrift offshore by a mariner.

Reports were also received about a man and a woman seen by fellow campers using a dinghy matching the description of the one found.

Evidence indicates recent use—two fishing rods, tackle box and fresh fish in the cooler aboard.

The owner of the Zodiac is thought to be Derek Liu. He is believed to own a green Nissan truck with a trailer that has been left at the campsite.

Anyone with information that may help locate the owners of the dinghy is asked to contact the Sector Honolulu command center at 808-842-2600.

Weather conditions on scene are reportedly 8 mph winds with waves at 2 feet and approximately 8 miles of visibility.

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