East Hawaii News

UPDATE: Kalapana Drowning Victim Identified

May 6, 2012, 4:54 PM HST
* Updated May 15, 8:54 AM
Listen to this Article
1 minute
Loading Audio...

The lifeless body of a man who apparently got into trouble Sunday while operating from a dive boat off the Puna coast was retrieved by helicopter, Fire Department officials said.

Police today identified the apparent drowning victim as Henry Kaawakoa, 44, of Pahoa.

Acting Capt. Howard Hose of the Pahoa station Sunday said a 911 call was received at 10:09 a.m. from the commercial dive boat. The caller said he was heading north to take the apparent drowning victim to the Pohoiki boat ramp.

According to police, Kaawakoa had been diving from the boat when his companions discovered him floating in the water. Foul play is not suspected.

Hose said because it would take at least a half-hour for the boat to reach the ramp, the Fire Department’s Chopper 1 intercepted the boat in front of the Kalapana Seaview Estates subdivision. Paramedics used a Billy Pugh net to recover the diver who was lifted to a landing zone established in front of the subdivision.


Paramedics examining the man on shore were unable to revive him. Kaawakoa was taken to Hilo Medical Center where he was officially pronounced dead at 1:30 p.m.


The incident began south of the coastline fronting Kalapana Seaview Estates, Hose said, although it wasn’t clear exactly where. Because there was only one other adult and a child aboard the boat, there was no one available to both pilot the boat and administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation, he said.

An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Mahalo for Subscribing


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments