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No sign of missing boater after two days of searching

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Photography and story by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

Fire/rescue crews and Coast Guard personnel spent a second day of scouring shorelines and waters north of Hilo in search of fisherman Mitchell Wailani.

The 80-year-old is missing from his 24-foot vessel, which was found Saturday run aground on the shoreline below Koae Road in Papaikou.

Wailani left Hilo Tuesday (July 5) on a fishing trip and had not been in contact with friends or family since Thursday (July 7). Wailani was reported overdue at 4 p.m. Saturday prompting a search with the Fire Department’s Chopper One, which spotted the vessel aground late Saturday evening in the area of Papaikou.

The Fire Department on Monday used its rescue boat from Waiakea Fire Station and Chopper One to search for Wailani. Divers experienced poor visibility in and around the area of the grounded vessel.

A surface search with the rescue boat up to two miles north, south and oceanside of the vessel was conducted with no signs of the missing boater. Chopper One conducted a 200-square-mile search of the ocean without finding any clues.

The Coast Guard dispatched a HC-130 Hercules aircraft, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, which will continue searching through the night.

Anyone with information about Wailani’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu office at (808) 842-2600.

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