Police ID 2 men who drowned in waters off Ka‘u

Two Kona men apparently drowned Saturday night after falling into the ocean while fishing off a remote area of the Ka‘u coast.

Hawaii Police Department, Hawaii Fire Department, and U.S. Coast Guard personnel responded shortly before 11 p.m. to a report of a 42-year-old man who fell into the ocean while fishing along the remote shoreline at the end of the Road to the Sea, according to police who released the details Tuesday following a request submitted by West Hawaii Today Monday.

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Bystanders and family members entered the water and attempted to rescue the victim. Both the victim and another 39 year-old-man who entered the water to assist were subsequently swept further out into the ocean by the current. Three others who attempted the rescue made it safely back to shore.

At 3:24 a.m. on Saturday, Coast Guard helicopter personnel located both men unresponsive in the ocean. They were flown to the Milolii boat ramp, before being taken to Kona Community Hospital where they were pronounced dead at 7:05 a.m.

The victims were identified as 42-year-old Patrick Fuga of Holoaloa and 39-year-old Petelo “Lo” Finau of Kailua-Kona.

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Police have opened a coroner’s inquest investigation in connection with this incident and have ordered an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Anyone who may have information relative to this incident is asked to call the department’s nonemergency number at (808) 935-3311, or Officer Rodney Kekaualua Jr. in the Kaʻu patrol division at (808) 939-2520.