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Coast Guard and MCFD rescue missing paddleboarder off Maui

Coast Guard and MCFD rescue missing paddleboarder off Maui
Archive image: An MH-65 helicopter, from Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, patrols over the Fishing Vessel Lu Rong Yu 1961, after being suspected of illegal fishing on the Northern Pacific Ocean.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Jonathan R. Cilley.

HONOLULU ⎼  The Coast Guard and Maui County Fire Department rescue a missing stand-up paddleboarder approximately 1.25 nautical miles off Ukumehame Beach park, Maui, Friday.

The Maui County Fire Department Air 1 helicopter aircrew hoisted the missing paddleboarder and brought her safely back to shore after a Coast Guard Auxiliary aircrew located her.

The paddleboarder was reported to be in stable condition.

«This rescue came down to teamwork,” said Lt. Jeff Henkel, an Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircraft commander. “It was a true display of inter-agency coordination at its finest. When local and federal rescue efforts combine, our search capabilities are extremely effective.”

At 8:06 p.m., Thursday, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu watchstanders received notification from Maui Dispatch regarding a report of an overdue 51-year-old paddleboarder off Olowalu Beach.

The report stated the paddleboarder was last seen 100-yards off the beach wearing a blue rash guard, black leggings, and a blue personal flotation device.

Sector Honolulu watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast notice to mariners and launched Coast Guard assets in response while the fire department deployed air and ground crews.

Archive image: An Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew in search for the crew of the fishing vessel 550 miles northeast of Midway Island, Jan. 12, 2020.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Scott Handlin.

At 7:30 a.m., Friday, a Coast Guard Auxiliary aircrew located a stand up paddleboarder matching the description of the missing person. The Auxiliary crew vectored in the Maui County Fire Department Air 1 helicopter crew who deployed a rescue swimmer and recovered the paddleboarder while an Air Station Barbers Point HC-130 Hercules aircrew provided overhead support.

 Assets involved in search:

  • The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126)
  • Maui County Fire Department ground crews
  • A Maui County Fire Department  Air 1 helicopter aircrew
  • A Coast Guard Auxiliary aircrew

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