Ready to respond
NAWILIWILI — A missing kayaker and a discovered yellow kayak triggered a multi-agency search and rescue operation outside of Kipukai Thursday morning.
The SAREX, spearheaded by USCG Kauai, included the involvement of assets and personnel from the Kauai Fire Department, the Kauai Water Safety Bureau, Kauai Police Department, the USCG Station Kauai, the USCG Air Station Barber’s Point, and USCG Sector Honolulu.
“The call just came over the radio,” said Randy Ortiz of the Kauai Water Safety Bureau. “That triggers everything and the search for the missing person outside of Kipukai. The lifeguards ‘found’ the person three years straight, now. We’ll see if they find him this year.”
Ortiz said in addition to the jet ski lifeguard teams, the USCG Response Boat and the Kauai Fire Departnebt boat, Wela o ke kai, responded while both the county’s Air 1 and the USCG helicopter were poised for action at the Lihue Airport.
Seth Carter, senior officer in charge at USCG Station Kauai, said the SAREX event is designed to develop teamwork and readiness. Wednesday exercises included briefings where personnel from participating agencies could familiarize themselves with equipment and resources used by the different agencies, similar to an open house.
Thursday, the knowledge was put into service with the issuance of the exercise missing kayaker report.