By Jeff King
While the U.S. Coast Guard continues their sea search for 67 year-old Ron Ingraham of Molokai, Maui Fire Department crews are searching by land, sea and air on Lana’i. On its second day, Maui Fire Department is continuing its search for a Molokai fisherman missing since yesterday morning, off the northwest coast of Lanai.
Yesterday, April 24, MFD had its Air 1 helicopter searching the shoreline and off-shore waters. Fire department rescue boats from Lahaina and Kaunakakai were also used in the search of the coastline.
Ingraham and Kenny Corder radioed a “mayday” to Coast Guard watchstanders shortly after midnight Friday when their vessel, Munchkin, hit rocks about a mile offshore of Lana’i and began breaking up. Corder was plucked from the water by a Coast Guard Dolphin Helicopter. Ingraham, Corder says, was not wearing a life jacket.
Ingraham made headlines when his 25-foot sailboat, Malia, was lost in a storm in November, 2014. The Coast Guard called off their exhaustive search after four days. Then, 12 days later, Ingraham was found afloat in his disabled Malia 67 miles south of O’ahu – hundreds of miles from where he was believed to have been at last contact.
Because of sheer cliffs in the area where the boat washed ashore, the Lanai fire crew has been unable to conduct any shoreline searches from land. Further hampering any land search is that the closest access road is “Morita Trail”, a 4-wheel-drive dirt hunting road that is still roughly 2 miles away. Air 1 is conducting a thorough search of the shoreline and up into the deep gulches above the shoreline, in the event the man made it to shore and is resting under tree cover.
Today, MFD is again searching the near-shore waters with rescue boats from Lahaina and Kaunakakai. Air 1 is searching by air and also providing visual air support to the MFD crews in the water. An MFD scuba dive team has been called in and is performing underwater searches of the area surrounding the wreck site. MFD will continue searching today until late afternoon.
If the mariner has not been found, MFD will continue the search again tomorrow using rescue boats from Lahaina and Kaunakakai, as well as the department’s Air 1 helicopter.