Search Continues For Missing Fishermen

February 14, 2020, 9:51 AM HST (Updated February 14, 2020, 9:54 AM)
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US Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point

A search and rescue operation continues for two men who went out fishing Wednesday evening and haven’t been seen since.

At 5:34 a.m. Thursday, Ka’u Patrol Officers responded to a reported check on the welfare regarding the two missing fishermen, said Hawai‘i Police Department Assistant Chief Robert Wagner. A 33-year-old female reported that her father, 62-year-old James Oyama, and her boyfriend, 37-year-old Jay Jara, had failed to return from a fishing outing.

An earlier version of this story mistakenly identified the second 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.

The two men departed for the shoreline at around 5 p.m. in the area of Honuapo, Wagner said. The woman who filed the report told police her father and boyfriend typically returned from fishing tips before midnight.

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The fishing grounds in Honuapo are home to cliffs between 10 and 30 feet. The ocean below on that evening saw swells of 8 to 10 feet crashing into the shore, according to a report by the Hawai‘i Fire Department.

Officers made area checks in the area north of Honuapo, where the vehicles of both men were located unoccupied. Search and rescue personnel made further checks along the shoreline just east of the vehicles, where a single fishing pole was located standing upright and secured to the rocky area, Wagner said.

The fire department’s helicopter was assisted by a United States Coast Guard (USCG) helicopter and C-130 aircraft with an aerial search but could not locate either party.

Oyama is described as being 5 feet, 9 inches, 190 pounds, of medium build with gray hair and brown eyes.

Jara is described as being 5 feet, 7 inches, 140 pounds, of medium build with brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing blue denim jeans and a blue shirt.

Anyone who may have information about this incident is asked to call the department’s non-emergency line at 808-935-3311 or Officer Dane Shibuya, of the Ka‘ū Patrol Division, at 808-939-2520.

The search for the men will continue Friday.

Max Dible
Max Dible is a reporter for Big Island Now. He will also serve in a news capacity 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 with the Iowa State Daily and KURE 88.5 FM, respectively, in Ames, 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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