Three fishermen—Jensen Loo, 30, Clint Oshima, 30, and Derek Tomas, 30—were reported overdue early Monday morning aboard their vessel, the 20-foot Iwa, the Coast Guard said in a news release on July 5. They were later reported missing and a search was initiated.
The boat was spotted overturned by the Coast Guard approximately 25 miles from Haleiwa Boat Harbor in Hawaii.
Four other boaters then attempted to use their 30-foot recreation vessel to haul the capsized Iwa from the sea but their boat capsized, forcing them to abandon ship.
“An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point hoisted three men aboard and safely transported them to Haleiwa Boat Harbor. A fourth man was able to swim to shore,” the Coast Guard said. One of the four is being treated by local emergency medical service personnel for hypothermia, and no other injuries were reported.
Crew at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center got a related call at around 8:30 p.m. from dispatchers at the Honolulu Fire Department about a “mayday call stating the boaters were sinking and abandoning ship” and “the mayday call was abruptly cut off after the notification,” according to the Coast Guard news release.
The Coast Guard crew are continuing their search throughout the night for the missing fishermen. Those with information are asked to contact the Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600.
“Any search and rescue case is critical out there. We want to find them as soon as possible, because if not, the search pattern keeps bigger and bigger,” said Jeremy Takesue, a maritime enforcement specialist, according to KHON-2.
“They are avid fishermen,” Takesue said. “It’s tuna, ahi season. A lot of local fishermen are out here trying to catch ahi, and that’s all we know right now.”
“They’ve fished a bunch of years already, at least a decade on that boat. It’s just a freak of nature,” friend Justin Wong told the station. “The boat actually handles rough water quite well, but you never know with the ocean.”
The Navy also deployed vessels to aid in the search for the three fishermen.