HONOLULU — The Coast Guard has suspended the search for 67-year-old Ron Ingraham who has been missing since Thursday after he placed a mayday call at 8:03 a.m. saying his vessel was taking on water and in danger of sinking 46 miles west of Kailua-Kona. In all, nearly 60 missions were launched by air and sea between Maui and the Big Island. Crews criss-crossed an area nearly twice the size of the state of Hawai’i.
“The suspension of an active search and rescue case without definitive resolution is one of the most difficult command decisions a commanding officer has to make,” said Capt. Shannon Gilreath, Sector Commander, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “We have exhausted all available resources in our efforts to locate Mr. Ingraham but, pending further developments, I have have decided to suspend the active search.”
Coast Guard and Navy crews conducted an extensive search of the area, flying 59 sorties and covering approximately 12,000 square miles since Thursday.
Involved in the search were MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews and HC-130 Hercules airplane crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point along with the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Ahi, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Honolulu and a Navy P-3 Orion crew from Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Oahu.
During the course of those flights, Coast Guard HC-130 crews deployed a self-locating datum marker buoy to gather critical information for the development of search areas. To calculate search areas in the complex currents of the Hawaiian Islands, watchstanders use the Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System.
SAROPS is a software system that uses simulated particles generated by users in a graphical interface. These particles are then influenced by environmental data to provide information on search object drift. Using information on a point of origin and local currents, it calculates the most likely area to find a person in the water.
The 67-year-old Ingraham is believed to be the sole person aboard the 25-foot sailing vessel Malia which departed Kaunakakai Harbor, Molokai, to Manele Bay, Lanai.
A friend of Ingraham called Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center Friday and cited Tuesday, November 25th as the last time he spoke with him.
Watchstanders at Sector Honolulu Command Center received the mayday call over VHF radio channel 16 at 8:03 a.m. Thursday. Ingraham reported flooding on his boat and provided a GPS position approximately 46 miles west of Kailua-Kona near Alenuihaha Channel before communications were lost.