On November 6, Bureau of Public Safety (BPS) and Division of Maritime Security and Fish and Wildlife Protection (DMSFWP) conducted a search and rescue mission in response to a missing persons report. The individual was last seen near Kayangel Elementary School. After a coordinated search effort executed by BPS and international partners from U.S., Australia, and Japan the missing person was found and recovered adrift at sea. Despite lifesaving efforts by DMSWPS first responders, the individual could not be revived.
Around 9:30 pm on November 5, Kayangel State Rangers reported to DMSFWP through the Division of Patrol that a Palauan man (in his 40s) was missing. The man was last seen near Kayangel Elementary School at 10:00am, and Kayangel State Rangers initiated a search after a family member reported the man missing. Upon receiving notification, BPS dispatched two DMSFWP maritime patrol boats and an aerial surveillance aircraft in order to support the Kayangel State Rangers with intensive search effort.
After arriving to the designated search area, the aerial surveillance aircraft soon found a body drifting at sea about 2.5 nautical miles west of Kayangel. The BPS Maritime Operation Center (MOC) received the location and guided the KABEKEL M’TAL, and SAR UNIT 01 maritime patrol boats to the location of body. After resuscitation efforts, the man was confirmed dead and confirmed to be the missing person. The body was transported back to DMSFWP where he was handed over to medical personnel.
The BPS aerial surveillance aircraft named Sea Dragon has been in operation since 2021. Sea Dragon is a U.S. Department of Defense funded program that supports Palau National Security. Sea Dragon is part of the BPS MOC and routinely conducts maritime surveillance patrols to monitor, control, and surveilance Palau’s Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ). The KABEKEL M’TAL and SAR UNIT 01 were provided by The Nippon Foundation, and KABEKEL M’TAL is supported by The Nippon Foundation for fuel and maintenance costs required for operation and maintenance.
Through the MOC, BPS will continue to work with local residents, state rangers, and other partners, to coordinate and respond to search and rescue missions. This event highlights the importance of the combined and coordinated efforts between Palau authorities and international partners. Through unified partnerships with regional allies Palau authorities are able to leverage additional resources to address safety and security matters for its citizens.