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Police initiate coroner’s inquest in 17 year-old boy’s possible drowning

A warning sign at Keaau Beach (aka Shipman Beach). Hawaii 24/7 File Photo

A warning sign at Keaau Beach (aka Shipman Beach). Hawaii 24/7 File Photo


Keaau Beach (aka Shipman Beach). Hawaii 24/7 File Photo

Keaau Beach (aka Shipman Beach). Hawaii 24/7 File Photo

Puna patrol officers responded on Friday (April 6) at about 1:34 p.m. to a reported swimmer in distress at Shipman Beach in Keaau. The victim a 17- year-old male was swimming with a friend and began to struggle. The victim’s friend lost sight of the victim, swam to shore and called fire-rescue.

Upon officers arrival several Fire Department units were already on scene including a Fire Department helicopter. The victim was not immediately located.

Police were notified Saturday morning (April 7) at 7:25 a.m. that a body of a male party matching the description of the missing swimmer was located near Shipman Beach.

Police have initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and an autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

UPDATED (4/9/2012 at 1:42 PM)

Police have identified the 17-year-old victim of a possible drowning reported in Puna.

He has been identified as John Joel Nicholas Buentipo of Keaau. On Saturday (April 7) at about 7:25 a.m., Buentipo’s body was recovered by Hawaii Fire Department personnel and was transported to the Hilo Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 10:10 a.m.

On Friday (April 6) 2012 at about 1:34 p.m., Buentipo was reportedly with friends who were swimming near Shipman Beach in Keaau when he experienced difficulties in the water and was unable to swim back to shore. It was reported that friends apparently lost sight of Buentipo and rescue personnel and a helicopter from the Hawaii Fire Department responded to the location and conducted a search, which was called off due to darkness. The search resumed Sunday morning and Buentipo’s body was located near the location he was last seen.

The case is currently classified as a coroner’s inquest and autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday (April 10). Detectives from the Criminal Investigation Section are continuing the investigation and do not suspect foul play.

Latest update (4/11/12)

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