Hiker’s body found off Na Pali

PRINCEVILLE — The Kaua‘i Fire Department on Sunday recovered the body of a woman believed to have been swept into the ocean Saturday afternoon during severe weekend storms.

The Kaua‘i Police Department later Sunday identified the woman as Sansan Sheng, 58, of Sunnyvale, Calif.

Her body was spotted by a tour boat Sunday morning in waters roughly four miles west of Hanakapi‘ai. A search had been under way since dawn by the fire department with assistance from the Coast Guard and Civil Air Patrol.

The fire department’s Air 1 helicopter retrieved the body and brought it to Princeville airport at approximately 9 a.m. Sunday.

The search began yesterday afternoon when witnesses observed a hiker attempting to cross Hanakapi‘ai stream being swept into the ocean around 2:55 p.m. One witness rushed back to Ke‘e Beach to alert a lifeguard who called  911. An air and ocean search was called off after about four hours, and resumed early Sunday.

Sheng was scheduled to attend a conference on Kaua‘i later this week, and she was traveling alone, according to a statement released by the police department.

Beth Tokioka, county director of communications, said Sheng’s family has been notified and an autopsy is scheduled to be performed early this week.

Witnesses had first thought the victim was a man when they reported the person being swept out to sea.

 Tokioka said all other descriptions provided by witnesses matched, except for the reported gender, and that police will be following up with witnesses to ensure the person is the same one who was observed being swept away Saturday.

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