Police investigating possible drowning in Puna

Police are investigating the possible drowning of a 36-year-old Puna man who was diving with a family member in waters off Makuu Point in Hawaiian Paradise Park Subdivision.

At 4:20 p.m. Sunday, police and fire personnel responded to a call of two adult male divers in distress. It was learned that the divers had begun spear fishing at about 4 p.m., and twenty minutes later one of the divers began struggling in the water. The other diver attempted to assist him, but was unable to do so due to high surf.

Hawaii Fire Department personnel were able to rescue one diver, a 38-year-old man, who didn’t sustain injuries and refused medical attention. The body of the other diver was found floating face down and unresponsive shortly thereafter.

Fire medics began CPR and transported the unresponsive man to Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 5:09 p.m. He was positively identified as 36-year-old Donald Gonzalez of Orchidland.

Police have initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

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