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Body of Opihi Picker Recovered After Being Swept Out to Sea

August 5, 2020, 8:42 AM HST
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Hawai‘i Fire Department recovered the body of an opihi picker off a rocky coastline in Kea‘au Tuesday night after searching for several hours.

At approximately 3:24 p.m., HFD received a report of a man in his 50s swept into the ocean off the coastline fronting 15-1825 Beach Rd. He was last seen floating face down in the surf zone.

HFD officials reported conditions were rough when crews arrived on scene, with a large swell striking the 20-foot high Puna seacliffs. Crews conducted a search of the shoreline as well as utilized surface divers and scuba divers. US Coast Guard assisted with deploying its Dolphin Helicopter working the mid-range water and a C130 plane searching the open ocean.

At about 6:45 p.m., HFD suspended the search with the intention of returning at first light. At approximately 7 p.m., friends and family at the cliffs where the victim fell, reported seeing a body in the water.

“HFD units returned, and in the darkness, two rescue men deployed to the surfline,” HFD officials state. “Guided only by lights from the cliffs above they, through several attempts, were able to recover the victim.”

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The man was transported by boat to Wailoa boat ramp where Hawai‘i Police Department met them. HFD has reported the incident as a fatality.

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