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Missing Hilo boater found safe

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 01:15 p.m. HST, Sep 27, 2013

A 48-year-old man, who was the object of a nearly week-long search by the Coast Guard and Hawaii County police and fire, was rescued Sunday but the rescue was only reported to authorities on Thursday.

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 took him to a local campsite, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

"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 left Hilo in a small row boat at 10 a.m., Sept. 20, and was reported missing by friends.

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

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paniolo wrote:
Rescued on Sunday. Don't anybody watch the news or read the newspaper? His friends reported him missing. When he was found on Sunday, did he talk to any of his friends between Sunday and Thursday? Authorities find out on Thursday that he's OK. What a waste of time and money. He can't take with him any communication devices. Better for him to stay on land. If he gets lost, easier to find.
on September 27,2013 | 12:26PM
mochiko wrote:
I agree. First thought when I read the story was 'What a waste of resources!' and NOT 'thank goodness he's safe'. Geez, some people sure take risks just to have others waste their time and OUR money to go look for them.
on September 27,2013 | 02:23PM
Upperkula wrote:
This guy should be fined! He as captain of his small boat has to be responsible enough to carry comunication with him, all boaters know that rule, you are drift wood out there have some commons sence ding bat, all that waisted effort looking for him when a VHF radio could have gotten him found really quick.
on September 27,2013 | 04:37PM
Slow wrote:
Wel sed! He lacks "common sence." Carrying communications is a good idea but, had you read and understood the story, he was on land and didn't need any. "Ding bat" indeed.
on September 28,2013 | 06:37AM
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