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Man sails across the Pacific and crashes into Big Island rocky shoreline

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Hawaii island firefighters rescued an elderly boater, who said he had just crossed the Pacific in his 70-foot sailing vessel, which crashed against the rocky shoreline and ran aground near Hilo.

The man said he had just arrived from Los Angeles after spending 34 days at sea, Hawaii County fire officials said.

Medical personnel examined the man, but he refused further treatment or transport to a hospital.

The boat was being bashed by large surf, fire personnel said.

The Central Fire Station’s fire captain said fire rescue personnel had difficulty seeing the boat because it was at the bottom of sheer cliffs between Wainaku Scenic Point Lookout and Honoliii Beach Park.

Fire personnel had to get to the boater’s location by going to a different spot. Had they gone to the edge of the cliff to try to spot him, they would have gone over, the captain said.

A rescue specialist aboard Rescue Chopper 1 was lowered onto the deck of the boat, which was “teetering on rocks and being slammed by waves,” fire officials said in a news release.

The rescue specialist pulled the man from the rough waters and placed him in a Billy Pugh net. He was then airlifted to the beach park.

Fifteen fire personnel responded to the call at 5:33 p.m., and the first unit arrived on scene at 5:44 p.m. A rescue boat also responded.

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