Search Continues for Big Island Fisherman Who Fell Overboard

The search continues for a fourth day today for a Big Island fisherman who, according to his fishing buddy, was pulled overboard after hooking a large fish early Sunday morning in waters off of South Kona. According to the friend, Mark Knittle, 63, of Captain Cook had hooked a big ahi (yellowfin tuna) at around 5:00 a.m. from a boat about four miles off of the Hōnaunau boat ramp and fell overboard while fighting the fish. The friend reportedly jumped in after Knittle, but said he disappeared within seconds of falling into the water. Mature ahi can weigh upwards of 400 pounds. 

US Coast Guard command duty officer John Smith reported that the man had not yet been located by rescuers as of late this morning and that a Coast Guard cutter and aircraft were “still actively searching” for the missing fisherman in coordination with the Hawaiʻi County Fire Department. Knittle is described as 5’ 10” and about 185 pounds with curly brown hair and a gray mustache and beard. He was wearing dark colored shorts and a dark shirt when he went missing. Anyone with information about the incident can reach the Coast Guard’s Honolulu Sector at (808) 842-2600.

Mark Knittle, 63, went missing off the Kona Coast on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Hawaiʻi Police Department.

Dan Collins