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UPDATE: Nāʻālehu Man Drowns Off Kahakahakea Point

March 21, 2018, 4:43 PM HST
* Updated March 22, 8:39 AM
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Information from the Hawai‘i Fire Department was added and edited into this report:

A 54-year-old Nāʻālehu man is the victim of drowning off of Kahakahakea Point in Kaʻū, on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.

Police are investigating the accidental death of Duane A. Breithaupt after he fell into the ocean water while picking opihi. He was with about 10 family members near the ocean but was alone picking the opihi from the cliff area. Family members reported at about 12:44 p.m., a large wave swept him into the ocean, where he struggled before disappearing.

Emergency personnel that included HFD Chopper One arrived at the scene, and his body was located 40 to 50 feet offshore in about 15 feet of water.

The victim was extricated via Billy Pugh net to a landing zone at bottom of Maikai Boulevard in the Ranchos subdivision where the rescue personnel was staged.

The HFD reported that a 20-year-old man provided ALS care and determined victim was in cardiac arrest. In consideration of scene safety, man drove to Ka‘ū Hospital with the victim and transferred him to the proper authorities.


He was pronounced dead at about 3:42 p.m.


The area is accessed by four-wheel drive and traveling on foot to the location. The area is about two- to three-hour travel off of the main portion of the roadway by four-wheel drive.

Police are continuing the investigation which is being classified as a Public Accident.

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