The Coast Guard continued to search Saturday for a missing mariner after the fishing vessel he was aboard capsized approximately one mile west of Lanai.
While Ron Ingraham remains missing, the Coast Guard rescued Kenneth Corder after he and Ingraham went into the water at 12:12 a.m. Friday from their 34-foot fishing vessel Munchkin.
An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point located and rescued Corder at 3:20 a.m. He was transferred to the Maui Memorial Medical Center in good condition.
Corder reported that Ingraham was not wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident.
The helicopter, Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, a 110-Island class patrol boat homeported in Hilo, and a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Maui continued the search for Ingraham.
The Maui Fire Department has also been helping with the search for the Molokai resident, using its helicopter, rescue boats and scuba dive team.
Because of sheer cliffs in the area where the boat washed ashore, the Lanai fire crew has been unable to conduct any shoreline searches from land. Further hampering any land search is that the closest access road is “Morita Trail,” a four-wheel-drive dirt hunting road that is still roughly two miles away.
The Air 1 helicopter conducted a thorough search of the shoreline and up into the deep gulches above in the event Ingraham made it to shore and is resting under tree cover.
In a strange twist, Ingraham is the same man who was lost at sea just months ago.
Corder, also commercial fisherman on Molokai and Ingraham’s good friend, said they had done that run hundreds of times.
He told KHON2 they had just finished fishing and were headed back to Molokai with their catch, but first they took a quick break to eat and relax.
That’s when, Corder says, a couple of rogue waves lifted the Munchkin onto the reef and within seconds “the boat was in pieces.”
“Luckily, I was able to get a mayday call out,” he said. “But by the time the third wave came, by then it was, ‘Grab the microphone and call the Coast Guard and grab the EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon).'”
After the vessel was destroyed, Corder says he and Ingraham jumped into the water.
“He grabbed a big piece of wood, I grabbed a piece of wood and we had an orange life ring,” he said. “I could see the EPIRB out in the deeper water. I said Ron, ‘Hold on to the piece of wood, I’m gonna go grab the EPIRB, I’ll be right back.’ When I came back, the orange ring was gone, the piece of wood was gone (and) Ron was gone.
“I yelled for him for hours. I could hear my voice echoing off the cliff. I never heard a peep from him,” he added.
All Corder could hear was the sound of waves while he clung to a piece of wood and the EPIRB, an emergency position indicating radio beacon that the Coast Guard says saved his life.
“I was watching the Coast Guard going up and down Lanai looking for me. In and out. He kept missing me by about 30, 40 feet. Finally they find me. Pulled me out of the water and dropped me off in Maui,” he said.
Corder says the ordeal left him with a few minor scrapes, but he feels sick at the thought of Ingraham still out at sea.
“This is outrageously numb. I’m totally numb right now. I’m mind boggled at everything.”
Corder is trying to contact Ingraham’s family, but he lost his phone while out at sea. He says the experience has scarred him forever.
“It will probably be my last fishing trip. After what I went through. I’ll never go fishing again,” he said.
KHON2 spoke with a family member, who said “things are very emotional at this point… Please keep us in your prayers.”
On Thanksgiving 2014, the Coast Guard received two mayday calls from Ingraham, who was sailing alone from Kaunakakai Harbor on Molokai to Manele Bay on Lanai.
He said his boat, Malia, was taking on water and in danger of sinking.
He was found 12 days later, on Dec. 9, 64 miles south of Honolulu. He was weak and dehydrated, but otherwise okay.
Audio clips of the mayday calls from the Munchkin received Friday morning: