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Fisherman is saved after 18 hours in ocean


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POSTED: Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mililani fisherman Travis Kam was battling a large fish when two waves in quick succession hit his 14-foot boat, turning it over and tossing him into the ocean about nine miles from Oahu.

“;It went over pretty fast,”; Kam said. “;I didn't have time to do anything. ... I just tried to get out of the way.”;

Kam, 25, who was fishing alone, said he spent nearly 18 hours in the ocean after the boat capsized between 12:30 and 1 p.m. Monday.

Kam said he was wearing a life vest, grabbed another one for additional floatation and clung onto the bow of the boat.

Luckily, about an hour before capsizing, Kam had sent a text message to a friend from his cell phone saying he was returning to shore because of poor fishing.

When Honolulu fire and police crews found Kam's truck and a boat trailer still parked at Waianae Small Boat Harbor on Monday night, authorities launched an air search.

At first light at about 6 a.m. yesterday, the pilot on a Coast Guard C-130 saw Kam waving for help about 10 miles southwest of Oahu, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard sent out a radio broadcast asking any nearby vessels to help, and a fishing boat operated by Jack Delgado responded to rescue Kam.

Kam said he was lucky and grateful, and a bit dehydrated but otherwise OK.

“;It's quite an experience. I can't even explain it,”; Kam said.

Following the rescue, the Coast Guard issued a number of safety tips to mariners, including a recommendation to have an emergency position indicating radio beacon aboard ocean craft.