Coast Guard, Navy search for missing fishermen near Haleiwa

This photo, taken by the U.S. Coast Guard on Monday, July 4, shows the overturned Iwa approximately 25 miles off Haleiwa Boat Harbor.

Coast Guard crews are continuing the search through the night for the three missing fishermen originally reported overdue aboard the Iwa northwest of Oahu.

Missing are Jenson Loo, Clint “Klint” Oshima and Derek Tomas. All three men are in their 30s.

The 20-foot Iwa was spotted overturned by the Coast Guard approximately 25 miles off of Haleiwa Boat Harbor during Monday’s search.

Friends reportedly last saw them fighting an ahi Sunday at 8 a.m.

In a related matter, around 8:30 p.m. Monday, 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.

One of the four men is being treated by local emergency medical services personnel for hypothermia. No other injuries were reported.

The boater’s 30-foot recreation vessel reportedly capsized and sank while they attempted to tow the capsized and adrift 20-foot Iwa.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center received a relayed call at 8:35 p.m., from dispatchers at the Honolulu Fire Department reporting they received a mayday call stating the boaters were sinking and abandoning ship. The mayday call was abruptly cut off after the notification.

Shortly after, watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center received an emergency position indicating radio beacon alert in the vicinity of the North Shore, correlating with the mayday report. Watchstanders at Sector Honolulu diverted Coast Guard assets from the search for the fishermen to rescue the boaters.

As for the search for the crew, “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, maritime enforcement specialist.

“They are avid fishermen,” Takesue added. “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,” said friend Justin Wong. “The boat actually handles rough water quite well, but you never know with the ocean.”

Tyler Wilcox’s boat traveled close to 100 miles on Monday to see if he could help find his friends who are still lost at sea.

“Nothing can prepare you for this. I went fishing yesterday. Everyone intended on being home three or four o’clock as normal. They go out all of the time on the weekend, weekend warriors we call them. Yesterday, they ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Wilcox.

Wilcox says all three are seasoned fisherman who would know what to do in this type of situation. “Jenson, he’s an okay swimmer. Derek used to dive; he taught me how to dive, great swimmer. Klint, not too sure, but I know one thing is they’re all trained when it comes to being on the water. They know what they’re doing when it comes to that. Just like I said the ocean, Mother Nature has its ways.”

Wilcox described the men on the boat, saying at first he and others thought the boat was only having engine trouble.

“Derek, the captain, we call him MacGyver. He fixes anything. That’s why at first we were not too worried. We thought they had engine trouble, and we knew give it a little time. I’ll figure something out,” said Wilcox.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and an HC-130 Hercules aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point were part of Monday’s search, as well as the USCGC Kiska (WPB-1336). A Navy P-3 Orion from Marine Corps Base Hawaii and members of the Honolulu Fire Department are also assisting in the search.

A Navy H-60 helicopter crew replaced the MH-65 Dolphin crew Tuesday morning, and the USCGC Ahi has also taken over for the USCGC Kiska in search efforts.

An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast has been issued alerting mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout and report any sightings to the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center.

Watchstanders at Sector Honolulu received a call at 8:21 p.m., Sunday from a friend of the three fishermen stating they had gone out to fish at 5:45 a.m., in their 20-foot fishing vessel and had not returned that evening by their designated time.

“Conditions as of right now, strong trade winds, little rough, especially out that far,” Takesue said, “but visibility is great so we’re doing everything we can out there.”

Anyone with information that may help locate the three fishermen is asked to contact the Sector Honolulu Command Center at 808-842-2600.

Weather conditions are currently reported as 15 to 25 mph winds with waves at 8 feet and unlimited visibility.

Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor
Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor

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