East Hawaii News

Fire Department Releases Additional Details About Possible Kalapana Drowning

December 26, 2021, 12:18 PM HST
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Big Island police continue their investigation of a possible Christmas Day drowning in Puna.

Officers responded to a report of a swimmer in distress at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 25, in the Kalapana area.

The victim, a male in his early 40s, was observed floating face down in waters off the coastline near the 16- and 17-mile marker on Kapoho-Kalapana Road (Highway 137), according to a Hawai‘i Fire Department press release.

The person who reported the possible drowning said the victim was on the rocks and swept out into the ocean about 25 minutes prior to fire department personnel arriving at the scene, says the release.

Fire department rescue personnel extracted the swimmer from the ocean after locating him with Chopper 1. The victim was brought to awaiting EMS personnel without any signs of life, according to the fire department.


Rescue personnel and county lifeguards performed CPR; however, attempts to resuscitate the victim at the scene were unsuccessful.


Identification of the victim will be made through fingerprint analysis. Police initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the police department’s nonemergency line at 808-935-3311.

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