Body spotted but not retrieved in waters off North Kohala

KAILUA-KONA — North Kohala medic met with hikers who reported a body floating face down in the ocean about 30 yards off shore from a steep cliff.

The chopper from Waiakea Rescue Station arrived on scene around 11 a.m. Sunday and observed what appeared to be a large tiger shark circling the body, the Hawaii Fire Department reported in a press release. Attempts were made to recover the body using the Billy Pugh net but due to the position of the body, attempts were unsuccessful.

In the process of putting a fire rescue specialist in the Billy Pugh net to recover the body, a bystander reported that a shark had submerged the body and it was no longer visible. The rescue chopper continued to do an areal search but was unable to locate signs of the body, but continued aerial search operations until stood down by the Hawaii Police Department, which was also on scene. HPD believes to have recovered belongings and a backpack of the victim on the top of the cliff, and are in the process of notifying next of kin.

North Kohala medic responding from a brush fire on Coastguard Road went to the end of Lokahi Road for a possible body floating in the water just northwest of Hanaula Gulch. The location of the body was about 30 yards out from a rocky point down a cliff. This location was about a half mile from the nearest road.

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