Search for Missing Molokai Paddler a Success

September 23, 2012, 9:04 PM HST · Updated September 24, 6:36 AM
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By Wendy Osher

A missing Molokai paddler was found clinging to his capsized canoe about two hours after and six miles away from where he was last seen earlier today (Sunday, September 23, 2012), officials said.

The search was launched shortly after 3:30 p.m. when an individual on shore reported what looked like a one-man canoe drifting about a mile offshore of Kamalo Wharf with no one paddling.

A crew from the Puko’o Fire Station responded and searched for about an hour until dispatch got a confirmation of a missing paddler from the paddling partner of the individual aboard the one-man canoe.

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Additional support was launched including:  two Fire Department skis from the Ho’olehua and Kaunakakai Fire Stations, Rescue Boat 4 out of the Kaunakakai Fire Station, Rescue 10 from Kahului, the Fire Department’s Air 1 helicopter, and the Rescue Boat 3 from Lahaina. The Coast Guard also provided support by dispatching a helicopter, a 110 foot cutter from O’ahu, and a 45-foot boat from Ma’alaea.

The Molokai Princess ferry, and a single private vessel also joined in the search.

The private vessel eventually located the missing paddler at 5:39 p.m., holding onto the capsized canoe about 1 mile offshore of Kakahaia Beach Park, said Maui Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga.  He said the private vessel was being operated by the paddling partner of the missing man, who launched his own boat in the search after getting back to shore.

The rescued man was described as a 66-year-old resident of Ualapue on the East end of Molokai.  Officials said he was good condition with no injuries.

***Earlier today, rescue crews also responded to Molokai when 10 canoes became swamped prior to the start of the Na Wahine O Ke Kai canoe race.

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