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HPD Confirms Identity of Body Found in Wailuku River

Hawai‘i Island police have confirmed the identity of a body that was found in the Wailuku River on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018 as 28-year-old Kelly Mrowinski, of Chicago.

Mrowinski and a male co-worker were swept into the Wailuku River by an apparent flash flood on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. The male was able to swim to shore, however, after an extensive aerial and land search, Mrowinski could not be located.

The Medical Examiner who performed the autopsy concluded the cause of death of “freshwater drowning” and ruled the death as accidental.

Search Called Off for Nurse Swept Down River

The search for Kelly Mrowinski, the travelling nurse that got swept down the Wailuku River after going for a swim with her boyfriend at Pi‘ihonua Falls on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, has officially ended pending any new developments. Mrowinski’s body was not found.

Kelly Mrowinski. Courtesy NBC

Hawai‘i Fire Chief Darren Rosaio said that today, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, “the helicopter was used today to do a final aerial search of the shoreline and Wailuku River.”

Hawaii Fire Department search and rescue for woman who was swept down Wailuku River.

Big Island Now asked Chief Rosario how many lives have been lost on the Wailuku River over the last decade and Chief Rosario stated that he knows of the following (incident reports) from 2011 from when he started to track incidents as a Fire Chief:

Incidents in last decade:

  • 2017 two incidents
  • 2016 one incidents
  • 2015 one incident
  • 2014 one incident
  • 2013 None
  • 2012 None
  • 2011 one incident

Chief Rosario stated, “We average one incident per year related to Wailuku River rescues.” The chief stated that he could not verify the outcomes of those incidents.

The Hawai‘i Fire Department will be releasing a formal media release on the incident soon.

Search for Missing Nurse Extended

The search for Kelly Mrowinski, the traveling nurse from Chicago was was swept down the Wailuku River following a flash flood at Pi‘ihonua Falls on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, has been extended into it’s seventh day.

The fire department set up a command center at Rainbow Falls today, where they continued searching further down the river using divers and a helicopter.

Family and friends of Mrowinski were on the scene and remained hopeful that her body would be located.

Hawai‘i Fire Department Battalion Chief Matthias Kusch said that the search was extended at the family’s request. Battalion Chief Kusch does not remember of a time that a river search has been extended this long and that the search would end today.

The family would like to thank the David Sayre Foundation; all donations should be sent to the foundation.

Search for Chicago Nurse Extended

Kelly Mrowinski. Courtesy photo

The search for Kelly Mrowinski, the traveling nurse from Chicago, entered it’s seventh day today.

Mrowinski was swept down the Wailuku River following a flash flood on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018.

Family and friends remain hopeful that her body will be recovered. They ask that any donations be sent to the Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation.

Hawai‘i Fire Department Captain Brent Matsuda said the search would be called off at the end of the day after the search was extended two days upon the request of the family.

PHOTO UPDATE: Missing Woman’s Friends, Co-Workers Express Concern

Kelly Mrowinski. PC: NBC

Kelly Mrowinski. PC: NBC

Kelly Mrowinski. PC: NBC

Kelly Mrowinski. PC: NBC

Kelly Mrowinski. PC: NBC

Kelly Mrowinski. PC: NBC

As the Hawai‘i Fire Department continues its search for Kelly Mrowinski, the traveling nurse from Chicago who was swept down the Wailuku River during a flash flood in Hilo on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, relatives provided photos and friends and co-workers expressed heartfelt concern about the beloved nurse.

Mrowinski, in her mid-20s, went missing around 4 p.m. on Friday.

“We are deeply concerned about our travel nurse, Kelly, who is missing in Hawai‘i, and are doing everything we can to help comfort the families involved,” said an Aya Healthcare spokesperson. “We’ve reached out to Kelly’s family as well as her travel partner and roommate who is also a travel nurse with Aya Healthcare. We can only imagine what they must be feeling right now and want to make sure that they know we’re here to help. We’ve offered our support and are doing everything we can to be of assistance at such a difficult time. Kelly, her family and friends are all in our thoughts and prayers.”

“Kelly is an absolute ray of sunshine whenever we work together,” said Mrowinski’s Aya Healthcare recruiter. “She is always upbeat and has an infectious laugh and positive outlook on life. Nothing gets her down and I admire her outgoing spirit. She has the heart of a true traveler and a real zest for life.”

“Kelly is such a beautiful person inside and out and has the biggest smile,” said a childhood classmate of Mrowinski’s, who is also an Aya Healthcare employee. “She’s very outgoing, energetic and friendly—always surrounded by loved ones, laughing and having a good time.”

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UPDATE: Search Continues for Woman Swept Away in Flash Flood

Search Continues for Woman Swept Away in Flash Flood

The search continues for a woman that went missing during a flash flood in Hilo on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018.

The Hawai‘i Fire Department sent divers into the water near Pi‘ihonua Falls this morning, however, heavy rains created a danger for the divers as another flash flood could have happened at anytime.

The fire department suspended their search at Pi’ihonua Falls and moved their search down the river to the Boiling Pots area of the Wailuku River.

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.

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.

Rainbow Falls Claims Two Lives

The Hawaiʻi Fire Department has confirmed that two people lost their lives on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, near Rainbow Falls.

The Hawaii Fire Department continued their search for a male body on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2017. Big Island Now photo

Four people went swimming above Rainbow Falls and two of them got swept away. One female victim was rescued at the base of Rainbow Falls and a search continues for the male victim.

The fire chief who was on hand on Sunday, Nov. 26, at Rainbow Falls, believes that they were tourists from the mainland.

Saturday, The Hawai‘i Fire Department arrived 12:40 p.m., and within the first 10 to 15 minutes, witnesses reported that a man and a woman were having difficulty swimming in a pond above of Rainbow Falls. The two were seen going under and not seen again.

The female was found unconscious in the water below Rainbow Falls yesterday.

Today, an aerial, ground and dive search continued in the pond and areas upstream of Rainbow Falls for the missing male but no body has been found.

Man Hospitalized After Jump From Rainbow Falls

A guy was injured today in a jump off Rainbow Falls.

Hawaii Fire Department arrived at the scene around 2:52 and found the following situation at the scene:

Male party jumped off waterfall area at Rainbow Falls; found lying on rocks at edge of pond.  Patient extricated via C1 with c-spine precautions and transported to Hilo Medical Center Emergency Room for evaluation.

Remarks:  E4 1st on scene to report of “person in distress, jumped off falls”.  Patient visualized on pond edge, lying supine on rocks motioning to bystanders at look out. Patient extricated without incident and transported to HMC ER.

Tourist From Beijing Robbed at Rainbow Falls Park

Police are investigating a reported robbery that occurred this afternoon at Rainbow Falls Park in Hilo.

HPDBadgeOn February 6, 2013 at about 3:00 pm, police received a report that a 49 year-old male tourist from Beijing was assaulted by a male suspect and robbed of his belonging while near the bathroom area at Rainbow Falls Park. The male tourist was part of a larger tour group but seperated himself when we went to use the restroom.

The suspect was described as possibly in his 30’s or 40’s, about 6 feet tall, medium build, wearing a dark blue shirt with light colored white stripes, and dark colored pants.

Police ask that anyone with information on the identity of the suspect to contact police.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.