Family looks for answers after Franklin HS counselor lost at sea

Oregon Coast

Hoang Tran and his boat "Kiwanda" were last seen Saturday evening

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Clackamas family hopes for answers after their father was lost at sea over the weekend.

The strobe light with the name of the boat “Kiwanda” written on it. September 30, 2019 (Courtesy US Coast Guard)

US Coast Guard crews suspended their search for Hoang Tran Monday morning after spending a combined 11 hours looking for him along the central Oregon coast.

Family of Tran’s said he sailed out of Newport on Saturday but did not return. His boat, the “Kiwanda” was last seen around 7 p.m. that night heading north by a bar tower watchstander at the Yaquina Bay Coast Guard Station.

The Coast Guard sent a total of 8 combined search parties out Sunday morning to the Whale Cove area south of Depoe Bay, including a drone and aircrew, but “all searches resulted in negative results,” said the Coast Guard Sector North Bend.

Crew members did recover a handful of items believed to be from the Kiwanda—wood, a life jacket, a piece of a marine sanitation device, and a strobe light with the name of the boat written on it.

Hoang Tran’s sail boat. (Courtesy Andrea Tran)

Tran is a counselor at Franklin High School. Students were shocked and saddened to learn of what happened over the weekend. They said Tran was well-liked among the many kids he worked with over the years.

“People were quite upset that they canceled the effort to keep looking for him,” said high school senior Alexander Carol. “He was my first interaction at this school. He reached a lot of students. He was a really nice guy—very kind soul.”

Tran’s family and school community were devastated by the news, but hope they will know more soon.

“I think about the family,” said fellow student Ariel Skelton. “I think about the students here and what everybody must be fearing—it’s terrible, it’s heartbreaking.”

The school’s principal sent out a notice to staff and students addressing his absence on Monday. It read, in part:

“It is with tremendous concern that we share with you that longtime Franklin counselor, Mr. Hoang Tran has been missing since Saturday…

We know this news is a shock, and there are more questions than answers, but we want to let you know that multiple resources are available for our staff and for students as we process this news…

Our hearts and thoughts are with the Tran family, and we will be here to support each other as we gather additional information.”

Tran fled Vietnam in 1975. He found a love for the Pacific Northwest, and for the water. His family called him an outdoorsman, who cared for his community. They now hope others will help keep watch for him.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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