Honaunau-Napoopoo, Hawaii (KHON2) — The US Coast Guard (USCG) has suspended the search for a 66-year-old paddler who was reported missing after a good Samaritan found a canoe adrift near Honaunau Beach.
The search for the paddler, who has been identified as Michael Kitagawachi, began on Saturday, June 5. Two helicopter aircrews, along with the assistance of a fast response vessel and ground crews assisted with the search. Recreational vessels with good Samaritans aboard volunteered to help find the man as well.
“Since Saturday our crews have worked closely with the Hawaii County Fire Department covering over 749 square nautical miles during 59 search hours,” said Darin McCracken, a search and rescue planner with Sector Honolulu. “During that time, there has been no sign of Mr. Kitagawachi. While it is a difficult decision to make, we suspended the search after sunset pending new information.”
The USCG says Kitagawachi’s canoe was found adrift one-mile off Honaunau Beach where he was reported to have regularly paddled. His vehicle was found at the beach with his phone inside.
The weather on scene at the time of the call was seas less than one foot with light and variable winds.