Body of drowning victim recovered below Rainbow Falls

Hawaii Fire Department divers recovered a body at about 10 a.m. today at the bottom of the splash pool in the Wailuku River below Rainbow Falls.

Divers were searching for a 20-year-old man who went missing early Friday evening while swimming with three others at the popular Hilo recreation spot. Battalion Chief Matthias Kusch said the body fit the description of the man, who, according to his companions, had become fatigued while swimming, disappeared underwater and never resurfaced.


“No positive identification has been done by (police) to my knowledge,” Kusch said.

Kusch said it was his understanding the missing swimmer was a visitor.

A county helicopter as well as divers were a part of the search, which was suspended Friday night because of darkness and resumed at first light today.

“After two rounds of dives and grid searches, the body was discovered today,” Kusch said. He said the bottom of the splash pool is about 35 feet below the surface.


Kusch said the recent relatively dry weather in Hilo has resulted in low flow rates in the Wailuku River and “good swimming conditions.”

That’s far different than the flash flooding that occurred when the Wailuku — which means “waters of destruction” in Hawaiian — claimed its last victim on Jan. 26, Kelly Mrowinski, a 28-year-old traveling nurse from Chicago.

  1. Anela O' Kalani March 31, 2018 1:57 pm

    Regardless, there should be a law against swimming in that river. Too many lost lives especially within the past few years.That river is very dangerous.

    1. dakine March 31, 2018 4:39 pm

      Good idea. Let’s see, lets make drugs illegal too. Oh wait, disregard……………….. Laws are not going to stop these drownings. It’s illegal to drink and drive, but people do it everyday.

    2. Mary Sticha April 2, 2018 1:40 pm

      There is and a $10,000 fine if you are caught beyond the fence in place to keep folks out. Such a sad outcome.

  2. Poi March 31, 2018 4:42 pm

    Sorry, there are no “good swimming conditions” in a place where you stand a fair chance of being sucked into a lava tube and shredded. This should be everyone’s worst nightmare. To be avoided at any cost.

  3. blunt TrUth March 31, 2018 7:14 pm

    Wild idea. maybe instead of our tax dollars going to helicopters and search dives for bodies, we put a chalkboard in the parking lot with the death tally from , say, the last 2 years.

    1. naeporue April 1, 2018 11:59 am

      Or like in some factories: Nobody drowned here since 2 (and keep count) days.

  4. charles baer March 31, 2018 9:06 pm

    brahz , lets not forget about global internet government . aloha .

  5. frommaui April 1, 2018 8:43 am

    people who died dont understand the dangers. we we always told “big waters” when the dark clouds came.

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