Search over for crewman lost at sea northeast of Hilo
Coast Guard crews help in the fruitless effort to find a worker last seen on Friday
Coast Guard rescuers called off the search yesterday for a 30-year-old cruise ship crewman who apparently fell overboard early Friday about 1,100 miles northeast of Hilo.
A roommate on the Holland America cruise ship Amsterdam last saw the man about 1 a.m. Friday. After searching the 780-foot vessel, which was on its way to San Diego from the Big Island, crew members called the Coast Guard at about 3 p.m.
Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer Brooksann Epiceno said the cruise ship was instructed to turn back and start looking for the missing man. An oil tanker in the area also helped in the search.
About 6 a.m. yesterday, a Coast Guard C-130 based at Barbers Point got to the scene and was able to search for about three hours before having to turn back and re-fuel. A second C-130 arrived about 1:30 p.m. and the search was called off about two hours later, after officials weighed the chances of finding the victim alive.
In all, about 1,000 miles were covered in the search.
"It's never an easy thing to suspend a search," Epiceno said. "We just did everything that could be done."
Epiceno said officials estimated the crewman could survive about seven hours in the 66-degree waters.
On the night he went missing, there were 10-foot seas and winds up to 26 mph. His life jacket was found in his cabin.
A Holland America statement on the search did not give details on the man or how he may have fallen overboard.
It did say the ship would arrive in San Diego tomorrow, one day late.
A Holland America spokeswoman declined further comment.
The Amsterdam has 647 crew members and holds 1,380 passengers, according to the Holland America Web site.