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Full-time search for missing Wailuku River swimmer ends

Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

After another day of fruitless searching for missing swimmer Ryan Ritzel, the Fire Department now plans to halt full-time efforts.

Ritzel, 24 and a cruise ship worker, went missing Tuesday, April 6 while swimming with co-workers in Wailuku River, near Boiling Pots. His co-workers called for help after he went missing.

The Fire Department conducted daily searches on the ground, from the air and in the water, but no sign of Ritzel has been found.

Crews resumed their search shortly after 5 a.m. Saturday and continued until after 5 p.m.

Six crew members and the county helicopter extended their search along Wailuku River from above Boiling Pots to the Hilo Bay breakwater.

Ground teams were inserted strategically along the river bank, while dive operations were conducted in areas where river conditions allowed.

Aerial searches also continued.

The search now will be scaled down to periodic aerial searches until additional signs or information is produced, the Fire Department said.

Original story on missing swimmer Ryan Ritzel

2 Responses to “Full-time search for missing Wailuku River swimmer ends”

  1. Kathy Robinson says:

    Ryan Ritzel was the light in his father’s eyes. He will be greatly missed by all who’s lives he touched.

    • Elena Bennett says:

      Ryan was a truly amazing child who grew into a truly amazing young man. It was a gift to have known him. So much love is wished to his father and family.


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