HONOLULU (AP) — The Seattle sailor who turned up safe after the Coast Guard suspended an exhaustive search had been feared lost at sea before, his brother said Tuesday.

Ira Foreman, 66, used his cell phone to call his ex-wife Saturday to let her know that he was fine and never in any distress. She had contacted the Coast Guard nearly a week after he was due to arrive on Oahu, prompting a four-day search over more than 200,000 square miles. The Coast Guard suspended the search Thursday.

Foreman was surprised to hear about the massive effort to find him, said Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Leigh Cotterell.

Strong winds apparently pushed his boat out of their search zone.

Foreman had enough supplies and food, but his VHF radio wasn’t working and he was out of cell phone range, Cotterell said.

Foreman was on the Big Island on Tuesday repairing his boat and preparing to voyage back home. No one immediately responded to calls by The Associated Press to a number for Ira Foreman provided by his brother.

“It’s pretty unusual,” Cotterell said. “We don’t normally suspend searches and then have someone show up the next day.”

Foreman’s family is familiar with his wayward Hawaii voyages. “He’s been through this before,” said his brother, Kent Foreman, also of Seattle, describing how their mother called the Coast Guard about 30 years ago to search for him while he sailed from Fiji to Hawaii.

During his recent misadventure, his brother feared the worst, but held out hope.

“I was worried, concerned, but at the same time if he’s that stupid, that’s the way it will end,” he said. “I’d be saddened that it happened, but at least he was doing what he loved to do.”

Kent Foreman 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.”

The Coast Guard plans to review the search to see if any lessons can be learned.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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