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Coast Guard, Partners Rescue Paddler Off Maui

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West | U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific | Sept. 2, 2020

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- The Coast Guard and Maui County Fire Department (MCFD) rescued a 60 year-old paddler off the coast of Kahului, Monday.

MCFD Jet ski operators recovered the paddler with no injuries or medical concerns reported and transported him back to shore with his 20-foot kayak.

“This case really highlights the importance of having an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB),” said Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Cox, a Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) Honolulu watchstander. “Had we not received the EPIRB alert we would not have known anything was wrong for some time.”

JRCC Honolulu watchstanders received an EPIRB alert at 2:30 p.m., originating from the waters off Kahului indicating a mariner was in distress.

Watchstanders called the numbers associated with the EPIRB and made contact with the paddler’s emergency contacts who confirmed he was on the water, his planned route, described the kayak, and stated he was last seen wearing a red shirt and PFD.

Coordinating with Coast Guard Sector Honolulu and the MCFD, assets were launched to conduct searches of the area including an Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and Coast Guard Station Maui 45-foot Response Boat-medium crews.

The Dolphin crew arrived on scene, homed in on the EPIRB’s signal finding the overturned kayak with the paddler nearby. The aircrew then vectored in the Jet ski operators who successfully recovered the paddler and towed his craft back to shore.

The weather on scene was winds of 28 mph and seas up to 12 feet.

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