A missing boater has been found safe, the U.S. Coast Guard reported Friday afternoon.
Richard Gomez, 48, of Hilo was found Sunday by a ranger at Hawaii Volcanoes National park after his boat broke up in the surf as he attempted to come ashore, according to a written statement. The ranger rendered basic first-aid to Gomez and assisted him to a campsite.
Gomez had been the subject of a search by the Coast Guard and local police and fire departments, and a police released a bulletin requesting public help in finding him. Gomez departed Hilo in a small boat at 10 a.m. on Sept. 20, and was reported missing by friends.
“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 Coast Guard 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.”
An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and crewmembers from the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake assisted in the search.