Police investigating possible drowning in Ka‘u

Hawaii Island police are investigating a possible drowning involving a 24-year-old man visiting from North Carolina that occurred Saturday morning in Ka‘u.

Officers responded at approximately 11:23 a.m. to the South Point area after receiving information that several swimmers were in distress. Police determined that three adult males and one female jumped into the ocean at the “hoist” area and experienced difficulties due to rough ocean conditions.


With the assistance of local bystanders, three of the four distressed swimmers were able to make it safely back to shore. However, one of the swimmers was swept further out to sea. A witness reported seeing the swimmer approximately 75 yards off shore before going under.

Through search efforts of local fisherman and the Hawaii Fire Department, fire personnel were able to locate the body of the swimmer, who was later pronounced dead at Hilo Medical Center.

He has been positively identified as Carson Philbin of Charlotte, NC.

An autopsy is being ordered to determine the exact cause of death and the investigation remains open.

Police are asking potential witnesses to please contact Ka‘u Patrol Officer Paul Wright III at (808) 939-2520 or Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.

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