Beachgoer discovers body of soldier who drowned Friday in Hawaii

By WYATT OLSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 3, 2019

FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii — The body of a soldier stationed at Schofield Barracks who went missing while swimming Friday was discovered by a beachgoer early Sunday morning on Oahu’s windward side.

The male soldier, who has not been identified pending notification of next of kin, went missing in Kailua Bay, near Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

Some media accounts had reported the drowning victim was a Marine.

“Schofield Barracks authorities have confirmed the body found at Kailua Bay this morning is that of a 25th Infantry Division soldier who went missing on Friday afternoon,” the Army said in a statement.

First responders were called to the scene about 5:30 p.m. Friday after three people swimming about 40 yards off the shore of Kalama Beach were in distress, said Capt. Scot Seguirant, a spokesman for the Honolulu Fire Department.

Someone on the beach heard calls for help and swam or paddled out, rescuing two women and bringing them to shore, he said.

“One of them was in pretty bad shape, as far as swallowing a lot of water — a near-drowning kind of thing,” Seguirant said.

Strong trade winds in recent days have created strong surf conditions, though it remains unclear why the trio of swimmers fell into distress, he said.

Searchers with HFD and the Coast Guard searched the waters for the missing man during the next 24 hours using divers, a helicopter and surface vessels.

The Coast Guard searched 64 square nautical miles but found no trace of him, said Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew West, a spokesman for the Coast Guard.

The soldier’s body washed up on the beach farther north than where he went missing, Seguirant said. Someone walking on the beach who was not involved in the search discovered the body about 5:30 a.m. Sunday and called officials, he said.

Twitter: @WyattWOlson

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