Police ID lava tube victim

KAILUA-KONA — Hawaii Island police have identified the elderly man who died at his residence in Kaumana on Monday morning.

The victim was identified Thursday by the Hawaii Police Department as 71-year-old Robert Hisashi Nishimoto.


Responding to the residence at approximately 8:30 a.m. for a report of an elderly male that had not been seen or heard from in several days, police located the victim. It appeared that he had fallen through a soft area of ground into a lava tube on his property. Hawaii Fire Department Rescue personnel responded to the scene and were able to repel into the lave tube and extract the victim, whose body was approximately 22 feet below the surface.

The victim was transported to the Hilo Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

The Area I Criminal Investigation Section responded to the scene to assist and continued the investigation, which is classified as a coroner’s inquest.


An autopsy was performed on Tuesday and determined that the victim died as a result of injuries consistent with falling.

No foul play is suspected in this case.

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