Maxed-out Hawaii Coast Guard seeks Navy Aid

Thursday, March 16, 2006
According to reports, stretched by the Kauai flood disaster and other missions, Coast Guard capabilities are nearly maxed out and the service is asking the Navy to help, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said. The Coast Guard had a full plate even before the disaster. Its aircraft have been performing interisland air ambulance services since the crash on Maui last week of a plane operated by Hawaii Air Ambulance. The Coast Guard has been scouring the seas off Kilauea since Tuesday, when a dam collapse let loose a torrent of floodwaters that left seven people missing. Coast Guard crews found an unidentified male later that day about a mile offshore. The body of a female was found in a streambed yesterday afternoon. Sources said that the Coast Guard will continue searching, but has had to call up additional crews to relieve those performing the air and sea searches. It also has asked the Navy to provide an aircraft to assist with the air searches. There was no immediate reply from the Navy yesterday, she said. A Coast Guard statement said it has been searching nonstop off Kauai with a C-130 Hercules aircraft and a helicopter from its Barbers Point station, along with the Honolulu-based cutter Washington and a smaller rescue boat based at Nawiliwili on Kauai. Coast Guard crews also have assisted with land searches. Coast Guard planes have transported 29 people from the neighbor islands in to Honolulu in medical evacuations over the past four days after a plea for help from Hawaii Air Ambulance, Delaney said. The cutter Washington also only became available after the search for a missing swimmer off Hanauma Bay was called off on Tuesday. Source: Star Bulletin

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