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Man who fell overboard returns to boat after HFD search ends

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:04 p.m. HST, Mar 13, 2011

A man who fell overboard from a docked fishing vessel at Honolulu Harbor turned up safe this morning, but not until after an intense, multi-agency search.

Sometime after the early-morning search ended, the vessel's captain notified the Honolulu Fire Department that the man was safe and had returned to the ship, Fire Capt. Earle Kealoha said.

HFD personnel received a call just after 3:00 a.m. that a man in his 20s had fallen overboard from the fishing vessel Yaozza tied up at Pier 36 at 1205 N. Nimitz Highway. HFD sent four units including a rescue boat and helicopter, which conducted an aerial search of the area around the fishing boat.

Coast Guard and Honolulu Harbor police rescue crews also searched the water and the harbor area.

HFD rescue divers entered the water just after 4:00 a.m. and conducted a thorough underwater search for about an hour, Kealoha said. However, silt and debris from the ocean bottom hampered visibility, he said.

HFD ended the search and decided to wait for first light to resume.

At about 6:20 a.m., the captain reported that the man as able to swim ashore safely but did not return to the ship until after HFD units had left the scene, Kealoha said.

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