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Man runs from police custody, swept into ocean, and is now missing

HAWAII 24/7 STAFF UPDATED (11:26 p.m. on 4/16/2018)

Fire/rescue crews answered an 11:45 a.m. alarm Monday (April 16) to 15-2649 Government Beach Road in Hawaii Beaches Subdivision for a drowning.

Police reported a man in his 30s had been swept into the ocean by a large wave and was seen floating face down and being in the breaking surf zone. The coastline is rugged and rocky with large surf and strong tradewinds in the area. Rescue crews on the shoreline, a jet ski, rescue boat, and Chopper One performed a search for the man.

Crews did not find the missing man. The search and recovery effort will resume at daybreak Tuesday (April 17).

POLICE MEDIA RELEASE (4:34 p.m. 4/16/18)

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating an incident in which a man appears to have died in the ocean off the Puna coastline.

At approximately 1:05 p.m., this afternoon, (April 16), police responded to a reported “drop 911” call on Beach Road at the bottom of the Hawaiian Beaches subdivision in lower Puna. Upon their arrival, they located a group of adults when one of the males ran from them. He headed for the ocean where there was a 15-20 foot cliff. Officers had a hold on him and tried to keep him from going over the edge, but he was able to get out of their grasp and make it to a ledge 5-10 feet below. Shortly after that, a large wave crashed against the side of the cliff and swept him into the ocean. He was observed by officers to be face down in the water and not moving for an extended period before disappearing from view.

Hawaii Fire Department personnel were immediately summoned and responded with a helicopter, boat, and jet skis. The search for the male party continues.

Detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigation Section are continuing this investigation classified as a public accident.

Anyone who may have information about this incident is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Jesse Kerr at (808) 961-2379 or jesse.kerr@hawaiicounty.gov.

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