KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A well-known marine biologist is safe and sound onshore, after being presumed missing for several hours off Kauai’s north shore.
Rescue crews were searching for 64-year-old Terry Lilley after his kayak was found two miles off Kauai’s north shore around 3:40 p.m.
At 5:13, a report came in that Lilley was found safe and all crews ceased their search.
“It’s a false alarm. I’m sitting here watching the sunset at Anini and thank you for everyone for being concerned,” Lilley said.
Lilley said he returned home to Kauai a few days ago and discovered his dive kayak, which is labeled with his name and phone number, had been stolen – the very one, which was found floating offshore Tuesday.
“The fact this kayak has a label with a name and phone number was extremely valuable," said Sam Gardner, a search and rescue controller with Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. "This information on your gear can significantly reduce the time it takes to determine who is missing and allows us to concentrate the right resources to bring you home.”
Lilley had spent the day snorkeling at Anini Beach and was surprised to find police officers waiting for him onshore, who informed him that a major search effort was under way – for him.
“I had to laugh,” Lilley said.
Lilley said officials think that whomever stole the kayak paddled it out to sea, where it flipped over and was later found by rescue personnel.
“I wish the Coast Guard didn’t have to spend that much looking for me because I’m sitting here right on land,” Lilley said.