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Updated: Search continues for missing boater off the Kona coast

UPDATED MEDIA RELEASE (12/3/09 4:40 p.m.)

Samuel BowerThe Hawai’i Police Department has initiated a missing person case in connection with a missing boater.

Samuel Bower, 58, of Utah rented a 21-foot boat at Honokōhau Harbor on Wednesday (December 2) and was last seen departing the harbor alone in the boat at 10:30 a.m. He said he was heading to Kealakekua Bay to meet with friends, and he was due to return by 5:30 p.m.

At about 6:15 p.m., the rental boat was found north of Honokōhau Harbor about three miles out with no one on board. Fishing gear was found aboard the vessel.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Hawai’i Fire Department are continuing a search. An  HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point was on scene at about 10 p.m. Thursday and commenced a search, starting in Kealakekua Bay to two nautical miles offshore from the missing man’s last known position off the Kailua, Kona coastline. Crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Hilo, also joined the search early Thursday, at about 7 a.m. Both Coast Guard crews plan to search through Friday morning.

Bower is described as Caucasian, 6-foot-3, 225 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. The boat was described as a 21-foot Kona Boat Rentals with a blue Bimini top.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts or anyone who may have seen the boat call Detective Sean Smith at 326-4646, extension 275, Coast Guard in Honolulu at (808) 842-2600 or via VHF marine band radio channel 16.

MEDIA RELEASE (12/03/09 9:15 a.m.)

Fire/Rescue crews responded to a 6:28 p.m. alarm Wednesday (Dec 2) for an unattended boat motoring 2 miles off-shore the Pine Trees surf spot area of the Kona coast.

The fire department rescue boat crew found a 21 foot Triumph motoring in a tight circle. Rescue personnel used a tarp to tangle the propellers and stall the engines. Crews could not find the occupant of the craft on board or in the area. Fire/Rescue crews are continuing the search Thursday (Dec 3).

The cause of the incident is unknown and the boat is owned by Kona Boat Rental.

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