Rainbow Fall Victims Identified as California Couple

Hawai‘i Island Police are investigating the drowning of a 62-year-old woman and 61-year-old man after they were swept down the Wailuku River near Rainbow Falls State Park.

At 12:39 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, police and fire personnel responded to the state park for a report of a couple who fell into the water while crossing the river above the falls.

The woman was officially identified as Gladys Novinger earlier today.

Friends and family of Novinger have identified the male victim as George (Tom) Novinger.

However, the Hawaiʻi Fire Department has not officially released the name of the male victim. The department will renew the search for his body tomorrow morning.

According to the Vineyard Hacienda’s business website, Novinger was a recently retired diplomat for the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service.

Six Rescued From Sinking Vessel Off Hawaiʻi Island

The Coast Guard, and good Samaritans rescued six fishermen from the 57-foot fishing vessel, Jane, reportedly taking on water 110 miles southeast of the Big Island of Hawaiʻi on Monday, Nov. 27, 2017.

The six fishermen were rescued by the crew of the 70-foot fishing vessel VAK 2 and are en route to Hawaiʻi, where they will be met by emergency medical services and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

VAK 2. PC Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)

“This crew did exactly what they should by calling the Coast Guard to report their situation and abandoned ship safely into their life raft,” said Chief Petty Officer Robert Scott, command duty officer Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “We appreciate the assistance of the good Samaritans aboard the VAK 2 to quickly get these mariners to safety.”

At 7:22 a.m., watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu command center received a mayday call via satellite phone from one of the crewmembers aboard the Jane stating they were taking on water and in need of immediate assistance.

Sector Honolulu watchstanders issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast notice to mariners and requested the assistance of the VAK 2 crew, five miles away from the scene.

At 7:40 a.m., an HC-130 Hercules aircrew and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point launched to the scene along with the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kittiwake (WPB 87316), an 87-foot coastal patrol boat homeported in Honolulu.

The Hercules aircrew arrived on scene at 9:40 a.m. They quickly located the fishing vessel overturned and a life raft with all six of the crew inside 100 yards away.

Weather on scene was reported as 14-foot seas, 34 mph winds and scattered thunderstorms.

The Coast Guard issued a broadcast notice to mariners advising mariner in the area of the possible hazard to navigation posed by the overturned fishing vessel.

The cause of incident is under investigation. The Jane and the VAK 2 are reportedly tuna longliners homeported in Honolulu.

LETTER: ‘Administration Has Done a Poor Job Interacting With Public’

Mayor Harry Kim’s administration has done a poor job interacting with the public over the first year he’s been in office. It hasn’t helped that he’s repeated the same mistakes that plagued his last term.

These mistakes include imposing restrictions on how I interact with Department of Public Works employees.

I believe his administration really needs to reevaluate how public inquiries, and dissemination of information is handled. He promised to run Hawaii County in more transparent, and honest, manner. I have yet to see his administration fulfill latter campaign promise. Transparency in County government has actually taken two steps back from the previous administration it seems like.

The first step in addressing this issue is doing a better job acknowledging and responding to public feedback. This could done by leveraging social media, blogs, newspapers, etc, to get the word out to his constituents.

For example, the mayor of Maui has an Ask The Mayor column in the Maui newspapers, which posts frequent questions posed by the public to his office.

Letters, commentaries and opinion pieces are not edited by Big Island Now.

Female Rainbow Falls Drowning Victim Identified

Hawai‘i Island Police are investigating the possible drowning of a 62-year-old woman and are continuing the search for a 61-year-old man after they were swept down the Wailuku River.

At 12:39 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 25, police and fire personnel responded to the Rainbow Falls State Park for a report of a couple who fell into the water while crossing the river above the falls.

The woman was found in the pool below the falls and was extricated by the fire department’s helicopter. She was then taken by ambulance to the Hilo Medical Center where she later died at 4:25 p.m. She has been identified as Gladys Novinger of Spring Valley, Calif.

The missing man has not yet been located and search efforts were suspended this morning due to dangerous conditions. His identity is being withheld pending notification of his next-of-kin.

Detectives with the Criminal Investigation Section are continuing the investigation into the woman’s death as an unattended death. An autopsy was conducted this morning, (November 27), but the exact cause of her death is being deferred pending toxicology results.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or have any other information about it is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Dean Uyetake of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2379 or Dean.Uyetake@hawaiicounty.gov.