KEAAU, Hawaii: Hawaii County Police issued a media release on Wednesday, confirming the cause of the death of a Keaau High School student at Shipman Beach as a drowning.
From the police media release:
An autopsy performed Tuesday (April 10) confirmed that 17-year-old John Joel Nicholas Buentipo of Keaʻau drowned.
Buentipo was swimming near Shipman Beach in Keaʻau on Friday (April 6) when he reportedly experienced difficulties in the water and was unable to swim back to shore. Fire Department personnel searched with the help of a helicopter and recovered his body Saturday morning (April 7).
Reports say Buentipo was swimming with two friends and got swept into the bay by strong waves and a possible rip current.
Rescue crews searched the shoreline while the fire department’s Chopper One conducted an aerial search. The search was suspended overnight due to poor visibility. The next day, the Buentipo’s body was located by Chopper One near the mouth of the bay, wedged amongst the rocks in shallow waters. There were no signs of life.
Buentipo’s family told KHON-2 news that John was getting ready to graduate Keaau high school.