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Police Report Third Apparent Drowning From Over the Weekend

July 13, 2021, 5:36 PM HST
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Authorities are investigating the apparent drowning of a Kea‘au man over the weekend.

Hawai‘i Police Department received a report of a possible drowning on Saturday, at 4:48 p.m. on July 10, in the vicinity of the 18-mile marker on Highway 19 in the Umauma area of North Hilo. When Hāmākua patrol officers arrived responded to the area Hawai‘i Fire Department, including a rescue helicopter, were already on scene.

Police say a friend of the victim told authorities 52-year-old Tavita Tahutini, had been diving for fish for a couple of hours.

“When Tahutini attempted to get back onto shore, waves knocked him into the ocean several times and shortly thereafter, he was observed floating face down,” according to an HPD press release. “Hawai‘i Fire Department personnel recovered the unresponsive Tahutini from the water about 50-75 yards from shore and performed life-saving efforts him.”

Tahutini was taken by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 5:49 p.m. A coroner’s inquest has been initiated and the investigation remains ongoing pending an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

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This is the third apparent drowning reported from over the weekend. Authorities are investigating an apparent drowning in Kaʻū after two men were swept out to sea on Friday, July 9.

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