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UPDATE: Apparent Drowning Victim Identified

August 11, 2016, 6:58 AM HST
* Updated August 11, 2:00 PM
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UPDATE Aug. 11, 1:56 p.m.

A 41-year-old California man apparently drowned Wednesday, Aug. 10, while swimming in the Wailuku River.

He has been identified as Alejandro Barrios Sr. of Orange, California.

In response to a 3:45 p.m. call reporting a drowning, South Hilo Patrol officers learned that Barrios has been swimming near the third waterfall of an area in the river accessible from the 2000 block of Waianuenue Avenue, when he appeared to be in distress.

His family attempted to assist him to shore, but were unsuccessful and called 911.


Fire-rescue personnel located his lifeless body and extricated the man to shore with the use of a helicopter. Barrios was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he was officially pronounced dead at 7:54 p.m.


Police have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. The case is classified as a coroner’s inquest.

ORIGINAL POST: Aug. 11, 6:58 a.m

On Wednesday, Aug. 10, the Hawai‘i County Fire Department reported a fatality in the Upper Wailuku River area.


HFD received the alarm at 3:45 p.m. The department’s first unit arrived on the scene at 3:57 p.m.

Upon arrival in the Upper Wailuku River area, known locally as “Narnia,” three people were found on the river bank.

They stated that a family member jumped into the water and had difficulty swimming. They jumped in to save him, but were unsuccessful with holding onto him.

A HFD team member cleared fallen trees using a chainsaw, allowing easier access to the river for HFD and Hawai‘i Police Department personnel.

With Chopper 1 providing aerial support, two fire rescue specialists conducted a free dive search and found the victim in approximately 30 feet of water on the river bottom.

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