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Search resumes for missing fisherman and flood victim

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 09:13 a.m. HST, Jul 12, 2011

Hawaii County firefighters resumed  two search operations today along the Hamakua Coast -- for an 80-year-old fisherman lost since Saturday and for a 43-year-old Puna man who was reported missing after a flash food in Papaikou Sunday.

Mitchell Wailani, 80,  had been fishing with a friend who returned to shore in his own boat and reported him missing Saturday, the Coast Guard said..

Wailani’s boat was found along the shoreline below Koae Road near Onomea. But no one was aboard.

Ernesto Combes, 43,  of Nanawale in Puna, was fishing for prawns when he was caught by a flash flood Sunday and swept down Kawainui Stream near Old Mamalahoa Highway in Papaikou, Big Island police said.

A 45-year-old woman was rescued. An ambulance took her to Hilo for treatment, fire officials said. 

The search Monday turned up no sign of either man.

Firefighters searched by air and with rescue divers for Wailani during the day Saturday and Sunday. The Fire Department said visibility was "extremely poor" Monday in the area where Wailani’s boat was found. However, firefighters were able to conduct a through surface search that included a 2-mile radius around Onomea. The Fire Department helicopter searched about 200 square miles of ocean.

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