8-29-23 Police Investigate Possible Drowning Incident at Ha’ena/Shipman Beach

Hawai‘i Police Department
Area I Criminal Investigations Division
Zachary O. Fernando
Phone: (808) 961-2252
Report No.: 23-082951

Media Release

Hawai‘i Island police are investigating a possible drowning that took place in waters off Ha’ena/Shipman Beach in Puna. Police have identified the victim as 66-year-old David Berg of Pahoa, Hawaii.

On Tuesday afternoon, August 29, 2023, at 1:23 p.m., Puna Patrol officers along with Hawai’i Fire Department personnel responded to the Ha’ena/Shipman Beach in Puna for a report of a swimmer in distress. Numerous bystanders and family members attempted to rescue the victim by throwing out rescue buoys to him, however were unsuccessful.

Responding personnel learned that the victim was swimming when a large wave crashed on to him pushing him below the surface where he was swept approximately 100-yards out underwater, before resurfacing. The victim appeared lifeless and washed up on some rocks in the bay where he was airlifted by the fire department’s helicopter.

Hawai‘i Fire Department medics immediately began cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on the victim, as they began transporting him to the Hilo Medical Center. Life-saving measures continued at the hospital, however were unsuccessful. The victim was pronounced dead at 2:23 p.m.

Area I Criminal Investigation Section personnel responded to assist in this investigation.

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

Police ask anyone who may have information relative to this case, to call the police department’s non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311, or Detective Jeremy Kubojiri of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2378 or email Jeremy.Kubojiri@hawaiicounty.gov.

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