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Search called off for missing Big Island fisherman

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Coast Guard and Big Island county officials have ended a search for a 56-year-old fisherman who was reported missing since last Friday near the MacKenzie State Recreation Area.

The Hawaii Tribune Herald on Wednesday identified the missing fisherman as Arnold “Arnie” Asato, an operations assistant at Hilo Municipal Golf Course, who had worked in the starter’s office for more than 25 years.

The Coast Guard said it searched more than 959 square miles when it called off its efforts on Monday.

Eight Hawaii County firefighters, using the department’s rescue boat and helicopter, combed the shoreline and half mile of ocean fronting Malama Flats before calling off the search on Tuesday night.

A ground search also was conducted by firefighters from Pohoiki to Kaimu Beach.

Asato was fishing from a 10-foot cliff near MacKenzie State Recreation Area on Friday evening when sources said he was swept out to sea after either slipping or being washed off by a wave. 

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