Search widens
for missing boater

An Army Guard officer failed
to return from a fishing trip
off Kohala last Wednesday

By Rod Thompson

HILO >> Coast Guard and Navy planes were to resume a search today for National Guard 2nd Lt. Jason Henderson, missing since last Wednesday when he failed to return from a daytime fishing trip off the Big Island's North Kohala Coast.

Since the search began last Thursday, a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules and a Navy P-3 Orion have searched about 67,000 square miles of ocean, said Coast Guard Petty Officer David Mosley, an area about 55 times the size of Rhode Island.

"We are going to go over and over the same area again, making sure that we are thorough," Mosley said.

As the search has widened from Henderson's original departure point at Mahukona Harbor, it has extended increasingly farther west to include all of the area west of the Big Island and areas south of Maui and Oahu.

The planes have also been flying evening searches, using radar that can spot the disturbance in the water caused by a school of fish 10 miles away, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael Wood.

Henderson, 30, was reported by family members Wednesday night to have failed to return from a daytime fishing trip in a 12-foot Zodiac double-hulled inflatable boat. Mosley said there is no information on what safety equipment Henderson has, if any, nor on how seaworthy the Zodiac is.

He noted that the Coast Guard uses Zodiacs that are about 20 feet long.

National Guard volunteers, eight on Maui and nine on the Big Island, have also been conducting an unofficial search on their own time of coastlines facing the search area, said National Guard Maj. Charles Anthony.

Henderson had recently been commissioned a second lieutenant after graduating from a University of Hawaii ROTC program, and had moved his family to the Big Island to be closer to his unit, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 299th Infantry, Anthony said.

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