Searchers found the body of a fisherman who reportedly slipped and fell into the Wailuku River behind the Hilo Armory on Monday afternoon.
East Hawaii Fire Battalion Chief Michael Hayashida said the body was discovered shortly before 4 p.m. by Fire Rescue personnel.
“He was found in the Wailuku River and HFD personnel on the boat retrieved his body,” Hayashida said. “The body actually surfaced and they pulled him in.”
Hayashida said that Fire personnel took the body to the Wailoa Small Boat Harbor boat ramp and that the Hawaii Police Department “would take over” from there.
Neither Fire nor Police officials identified the man, but according to a police log, he was 34-year-old Rapsak Shorey.
According to the log, Shorey’s girlfriend told police that he was fishing at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday with a hand line. She reportedly told police that Shorey had a bite, stood up, walked toward the edge of the water and fell in. The woman also reportedly told police that Shorey had been drinking and was intoxicated at the time.
Police wrote that the drop from the shore to the water is 8-10 feet where Shorey reportedly fell in.
Fire Rescue personnel, including a rescue boat with a dive team and the county helicopter searched the river for Shorey on Saturday night until after nightfall, all day Sunday and on Monday until the body was found.
The helicopter also searched the Hilo Bay shoreline and into the bay up to the breakwall.
On Monday morning, a number of people crowded the bank of the river just above where it empties into Hilo Bay at the Singing Bridge to watch the recovery operation. One man identified himself as the victim’s cousin, but said he didn’t know what had happened.
According to court records, Shorey was originally from Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia.
Police Lt. James Gusman told the Tribune-Herald on Sunday that police did not suspect foul play.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.