Two Fishermen Missing Off Big Island Coast

February 13, 2020, 1:25 PM HST (Updated February 14, 2020, 10:36 AM)

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mistakenly identified the second missing man as Jay Jara Oyama and indicated he was some type of relation to James Oyama. That was based on incorrect information provided by officials sources to Big Island Now.

Hawai‘i Island police, fire department personnel and the Coast Guard are engaged in a joint search and rescue operation off the southeast coast of the Big Island after two fishermen reportedly went missing there.


James Oyama, 62, and Jay Jara, 37, went fishing near Whittington Beach Park in Na‘alehu Wednesday night at around 5 p.m. When they hadn’t returned home by early Thursday morning, Oyama’s daughter contacted authorities.

“They are presumed to have been swept off the shore,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Amanda Wyrick. She added that authorities, who began the search at around 7 a.m. Thursday, have located the Oyamas vehicle in the beach park and also found their gear on the shoreline.

Two Coast Guard helicopters and one Hercules airplane crew are assisting a Hawai‘i Fire Department rescue chopper in the sky search. A Coast Guard cutter was deployed from O‘ahu to search on the water. HFD also has ground crews on scene bolstered by unspecified police assets also involved in the search.

Max Dible
Max Dible is the News Director for both Big Island Now and Kauai Now. He also serves as News Director for Pacific Media Group's Hawai‘i Island family of radio stations. He formerly worked as a community reporter for West Hawai‘i Today in Kailua-Kona from 2016 to 2019. Before that, he was a sports editor, sports reporter, and radio talk show personality covering college athletics in Iowa. He's won several regional and national journalism awards, at both the collegiate and professional levels, for breaking news, long-form feature writing, and his work as a sports columnist.


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