Man dies of apparent drowning south of Keauhou Bay

  • The Hula Kai heads back out to sea after docking at Keauhou Bay to transport a 77-year-old male to first responders. The man was later pronounced dead of an apparent drowning. (Max Dible/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — A 77-year-old man died Thursday morning of an apparent drowning.

A Hawaii Police Department investigation is ongoing, said HPD Sgt. David Araki, who added no foul play is suspected.

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Investigators are waiting on the results of an autopsy to determine the victim’s precise cause of death, he said.

A report from the Hawaii Fire Department, which was first notified of the incident at 10:19 a.m., noted that a “possible cardiac event” may have resulted in the drowning.

Police received a report at 10:45 a.m. of a snorkeler who was face down and pulled unresponsive from waters near the Captain Cook Monument in Kealakekua Bay.

The man was a passenger on the Hula Kai, a Fair Wind Cruise vessel that launches from the same bay and offers a variety of ocean excursions.

Passengers on the boat said the crew called snorkelers and swimmers in following the incident, adding that crew members attempted to resuscitate the victim once he was back aboard the ship.

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“Safety is always at the forefront of our crew’s minds,” Mendy Dant, executive vice president of Fair Wind Cruises, wrote in an email to West Hawaii Today. “They have lifeguard certification training annually as well as AED training.”

Onlookers at Keauhou Boat Ramp said the Hula Kai docked around 10:45 a.m. Upon arrival, it was met by HFD personnel from the Keauhou fire station who transported the victim by ambulance to Kona Community Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

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