Categorized | Featured, News

Swimmer missing at Boiling Pots area of Wailuku River

UPDATED (9:30 p.m. 4/7/10)

Fire/rescue crews resumed their search for missing swimmer Ryan J. Ritzel Wednesday morning (April 7). Divers searched the waters of the Wailuku, while a helicopter continued an aerial search of the area down to Reeds Island.

Divers were being cautious of the turbulent waters of the Wailuku River as a flash flood watch was issued for the Big Island.

Crews will resume the search at first light Thursday.

No signs of the swimmer have been found since Tuesday afternoon (April 6), when his cruise ship co-workers said he attempted to swim across the river.

Photography and story by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

Fire/rescue crews at Boiling Pots for a missing swimmer.

Chopper One flies over the Wailuku River near Rainbow Falls searching for missing swimmer Ryan J. Ritzel, 24, of Soquel, California.

Fire/rescue crews are searching a rain swollen Wailuku River after a swimmer was reported to have gone missing at the Boiling Pots area Tuesday afternoon (April 6).

Ryan J. Ritzel, 24, of Soquel, California was last seen by friends trying to swim to the other side of the river and could not be located by them.

The fire department’s Chopper One flew along the Wailuku River below the treeline between Boiling Pots and down to the ocean searching for the swimmer.

Boiling Pots State Park was closed as county crews including fire, medics and police staged in the area for a rescue of the missing swimmer. A ground search was made along the banks of the river but the water was too rough to enter, according to a fire dispatch report.

The search was postponed due to nightfall and will resume in the morning.


Big Island police have opened a missing person case in connection with a cruise ship employee who disappeared while swimming at Boiling Pots in Hilo.

In response to a 1:50 p.m. call, police responded to Boiling Pots, where Ryan J. Ritzel, 24, of Soquel, California, had been swimming with five coworkers. When his companions discovered he was missing, they called 911.

Ritzel is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-9, with a slim build, short brown hair and blue eyes. He was wearing white and blue swimming trunks.

Fire Department personnel have been searching the area but have been unable to locate him.

Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

April 8 update on missing swimmer

11 Responses to “Swimmer missing at Boiling Pots area of Wailuku River”

  1. Kathy Robinson says:

    This news was posted yesterday. Has there been any updates? Family and friends on East coast would greatly appreciate any additional information on this news feed. Thank you for your kindess and understanding. Kathy R.

    • BM says:

      From what we heard there has been no updates personally, but we are just finding out now. This is so horrible and tragic! Him and his father were just at my house this past summer. Please pray for Ryan and his family…

  2. Penny says:

    Prayers to Ryan and his Family from the Mainland…..

  3. Tina says:

    My daughter is a fellow co worker, she told me about this when it happened. She was asked to go with them, but she was afraid to because of the water being so rough. This is very sad. I also have a son that is 24 and my daughter is greatly sadden by this. My heart goes out to the family.

    • Brenda says:

      My daughter was also a co-worker of his, she was going to with that day but was tired and decided not to go. She called me last night and told me of the tragedy. She was so shook up, that must be awful for the co-workers to hear something like that. I pray for the family, that is new you never want to hear or have someone else have to go through that. I pray that god will be with them and help them get through this.

    • Britney Vanderlaan says:

      My boyfriend was there when it happen and I heard about it a little later. I cired when I heard about it! I just want them to find him and know that everything is ok. I was scared! I know that some of the crew was there a couple of days earlier, but I guess it wasn’t raining. Many prays go up for Ryan and his family! I am here to support the family!

  4. Ruby says:

    Praying for you Ryan and the Fammily

  5. Donna Eichenwald says:

    Many prayers to Ryan, his family and friends.

  6. Jacqueline Bequette says:

    Praying for Ryan and his dear family.

  7. Shaina says:


    Please stop playing this cruel joke. We all want you home now. You said you would come back and we would go up to the cabin with the families. You hammock’ed promised me.

    I miss you.

    My prayers are with the families.

  8. Amanda Chandler says:

    Ryan all your friends and loved ones from California r sending u love and strength! We miss u! Come home soon and safe!
    Sending lots of love to Julia (Ryan’s one and only) & Ryan’s lovely family


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

RSS Weather Alerts

  • An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.