HONOLULU — The family of a Seattle sailor said Tuesday they had remained hopeful that he would be found because he had been feared lost at sea in the past.
“He’s been through this before,” said Kent Foreman, the brother of 66-year-old Ira Foreman whose disappearance prompted an exhaustive search by the Coast Guard for four days. Ira Foreman used his cell phone Saturday to tell his ex-wife that he was fine.
“I was worried, concerned, but at the same time if he’s that stupid, that’s the way it will end,” his brother said. “I’d be saddened that it happened, but at least he was doing what he loved to do.” He said about 30 years ago their mother called the Coast Guard to search for Ira while he sailed from Fiji to Hawaii.
Ira was reported missing nearly a week after he was due to arrive on Oahu. The Guard unsuccessfully searched more than 200,000 square miles, then suspended the effort Thursday.
He was surprised to hear about the massive effort to find him, said Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Leigh Cotterell. Winds apparently pushed his boat out of their search zone.
“It’s pretty unusual,” Cotterell said. “We don’t normally suspend searches and then have someone show up the next day.”
Ira had enough supplies and food, but his VHF radio wasn’t working and he was out of cell phone range, Cotterell said.
Kent described his brother as a loner who is known to spend months living on his boat. “I’m really relieved,” he said. I’m just glad he’s found. My biggest concern is having him return home now.”
Ira was on the Big Island repairing his boat and preparing for a voyage back home. Calls to a number for Ira provided by his brother were not immediately answered Tuesday.
The Guard planned to review the search to see if any lessons can be learned. It didn’t know how much the “four-day, around-the-clock” search had cost the Guard, Cotterell said.