Coast Guard: Missing Hilo man found safe

Richard Gomez
Richard Gomez

A 48-year-old Hilo man who went missing last week was located Thursday, according to Coast Guard officials.

Richard Gomez was found by a Volcano National Park Ranger after his boat broke up in the surf while attempting to come ashore, Sunday.

The park ranger rendered basic first-aid to Gomez and then assisted him to a local campsite.

“Had the boater in this case carried a reliable form of communication such as a handheld VHF radio, rescuers may have been able to eliminate several unnecessary search hours that resources were diverted from other missions,” said Cmdr. Steve Wheeler, Sector Honolulu Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator. “A VHF radio distress call can often be picked up and triangulated by the Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 system, which may reduce the search area and can change the outcome of incidents like this”.

Gomez departed Hilo in a small boat at 10 a.m. on Sept. 20 and was reported missing by friends.

An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and crewmembers from the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake assisted in the search.

Related story: Coast Guard searches for missing Hilo man

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