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Coast Guard rescues kayaker paddling from Maui to Big Island lost in vog

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Crew members aboard Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, a 110-foot Island class patrol boat home ported in Hilo, rescue a distressed kayaker approximately 19 miles northeast of Kohala, Big Island, Jan. 13, 2015. The 38-year-old man left Maui en route Big Island when he became lost and called for assistance using his cell phone. Photo courtesy USCG

Crew members aboard Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, a 110-foot Island class patrol boat home ported in Hilo, rescue a distressed kayaker approximately 19 miles northeast of Kohala, Big Island, Jan. 13, 2015. The 38-year-old man left Maui en route Big Island when he became lost and called for assistance using his cell phone. Photo courtesy USCG

HONOLULU – The Coast Guard Cutter Kiska rescued a distressed kayaker near Big Island and safely transported him to Hilo, Wednesday.

Kiska arrived on scene at 11:31 p.m. Tuesday and safely brought aboard the 38-year-old man and his kayak.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center received notification at 6:29 p.m. via cell phone from the kayaker approximately 19 miles northeast of Kohala, Big Island. The kayaker was en route Big Island from Maui when he reportedly lost sight of the island due to volcanic smog and drifted off course.

Watchstanders were able to triangulate his signal with the aid of Hawaii County Police Dispatch to determine his location.

An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew dropped a VHF radio, flares and a lifejacket to the kayaker. The kayaker had no life-saving equipment aboard.

Due to a depleted cell phone battery, the provided radio became the primary means of communication with the kayaker.

Mariners should always carry essential safety equipment when heading out on the water to include a VHF marine radio, lifejacket and flares. VHF radios have the advantage of reaching all vessels within the broadcast range simultaneously. Cell phones only provide one-to-one communication and are an unreliable emergency communication method when offshore. Mariners are also advised to use and register an emergency position-indicating radio beacon or personal locator beacon. For more information on EPIRBs, visit www.epirb.com

Crew members aboard Coast Guard Cutter Kiska pose with a distressed kayaker rescued from sea approximately 19 miles northeast of Kohala, Big Island, Jan. 14, 2015. The 38-year-old man left Maui en route Big Island when he became lost and called for assistance using his cell phone. Photo courtesy USCG

Crew members aboard Coast Guard Cutter Kiska pose with a distressed kayaker rescued from sea approximately 19 miles northeast of Kohala, Big Island, Jan. 14, 2015. The 38-year-old man left Maui en route Big Island when he became lost and called for assistance using his cell phone. Photo courtesy USCG


Aerial nightvision video of USCG Cutter Kiska approaching the kayaker.

3 Responses to “Coast Guard rescues kayaker paddling from Maui to Big Island lost in vog”

  1. NickNovick says:

    I hope that this irresponsible Darwin-nominee is billed for this and motivated to pay. Ships and search aircraft? Why should you and I have to pay for the stupidity of people like this?

  2. Mike Stanczyc says:

    I agree with Nick. It is simply irresponsible to travel in the open water, especially on a sit on top kayak, without the basic safety gear including a life jacket. GPS’ are ridiculously inexpensive. Going into open water or the woods without one is questionable thinking. Someone other than the taxpayers should be paying for the rescue.

  3. Eric says:

    I disagree with Nick. People should be encouraged to get out, explore, and push the limits. I am happy to see my tax dollars funding organizations that support active lifestyles. We are a nation overweight (68% of us folks) and often lazy individuals. Kudos to this guy for the motivation and courage to embark on adventures. And although many of the sheltered and fearful among us may cringe, this was a reasonable adventure. He should have brought a life vest.

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