7-13-21 Police Investigate Possible Drowning Along Hāmākua Coast

Hawai‘i Police Department
Hāmākua Patrol
Lieutenant Roylen Valera
Phone: (808) 962-2120
Report No.: 21-56470

Media Release

Hawai‘i Island police are investigating a possible drowning in Hāmākua.

At 4:48 p.m. on Saturday, July 10, 2021, Hamakua patrol officers responded to a report of a possible drowning in the vicinity of the 18 mile marker on Highway 19 in the Umauma area of North Hilo.

When officers arrived on scene, Hawaii Fire Department personnel, including a rescue helicopter, were on scene. Officers learned from a friend of the victim that the victim, later identified as 52-year-old Tavita Tahutini of Kea‘au, 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. 

Hawai‘i Fire Department personnel recovered the unresponsive Tahutini from the water about 50-75 yards from shore and performed life-saving efforts him. He was transported via ambulance to the Hilo Medical Center and 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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