Coast Guard, Partners Responding to Mayday Call Near Big Island

The United States Coast Guard, Hawai`i County Fire Department, U.S. Navy and Royal Australian crews are searching for signs of distress near Kona Airport on the Big Island after receiving a mayday call on Saturday.

An Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew, along with the Coast Guard Cutter Joesph Gerzcak (WPC 1126), HFD Air 1 helicopter crew, a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion aircrew and the crew of the Royal Australian Navy HMAS Success (OR 304) are searching.

At about 12:30 p.m., Sector Honolulu command center watchstanders received a mayday call over channel 16 of a vessel in distress and were able to use the Rescue 21 system to track the location of the call to approximately four miles northwest of Kona Airport.

The mayday call was about three seconds in duration, and a male voice can be heard saying, “335 Marlin. Mayday, mayday. Orca.” Nothing further was heard. All hails to the caller remain unanswered.

Many fishing tournaments are running this weekend. Watchstanders queried all the fishing tournament directors, and no one reported missing any boats.

In addition, HFD confirmed no missing person reports as of 4 p.m.

The Coast Guard requests that anyone with information regarding the distress call to please contact the command center at 808-842-2600.

The weather at the time of the call was 18 mph winds out of the northwest with seas up to 3 feet, scattered showers and reduced visibility of 6 miles due to haze.

The Navy and HMAS Success are participating in the Rim of the Pacific Exercises off Hawaii and were available to assist in the search. The Success is a Durance-class multi-product replenishment oiler serving in the Royal Australian Navy.

The Navy and Australian Navy are in Hawai`i participating in the Rim of the Pacific Exercises.