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Man who drowned trying to save woman at Waimea Falls ID'd

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 01:33 a.m. HST, May 21, 2013

A vacationing U.S. Border Patrol agent died Sunday attempting to save a woman in distress in a pool at Waimea Falls.

The Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the man as Kris Gungon, 31, of Imperial, Calif.

Other people in the area rescued the woman, fire Capt. Gary Lum said.

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in San Diego said Gungon has been an agent since 2009. He was assigned to to the El Centro Patrol Station. 

He and his wife were and other family members were vacationing in the islands.

An autopsy will be performed Monday to determine the cause of death.

Authorities said a woman was in distress in the pond beneath the falls and that Gungon went in to help her. He never resurfaced. Lum said fire rescue and lifeguards participated in the search. He said the body was found about 25 feet below the surface of the pond at 5:20 p.m.

His department received a call about the missing man from emergency services at 4:12 p.m. Sunday.

Police have classified the case as an unattended death.

Gungon was visiting here with his family, which is being helped by the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii. The visitor aide service also said it has offered its assistance to Gungon’s parents in San Diego. Imperial is near the U.S.-Mexico border.

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allie wrote:
God bless him for trying.
on May 20,2013 | 10:44AM
Mythman wrote:
OHA doesn't have a lifeguard at this popular pool and waterfall, or what?
on May 20,2013 | 11:24AM
Hawaiians wrote:
What a sad event, bless his heart for he died a heroic death.
on May 20,2013 | 12:47PM
iwanaknow wrote:
So.................it would have been good if there had been a life ring nearby?
on May 20,2013 | 11:42AM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
That pool in which the falls empties into has always been bad luck with many drownings occurring there. Some say that pool is cursed because of all the blood that ran into the pool from the human sacrifice heiau that is at the top of Pupukea heights.
on May 20,2013 | 03:00PM
steveoctober wrote:
It's dangerous because of the beauty, those who should not be in the water end up going in not realizing how deep or rocky it can be. Also, it takes quite a while for emergency personnel to come rescue anyone, unlike at a lifeguarded facility where one's chance of survival is tremendously different.
on May 20,2013 | 05:15PM
Papakolea wrote:
Deepest condolences to his family and friends.
on May 20,2013 | 07:03PM
Papakolea wrote:
OHA should warn people to NEVER swim or stand under a waterfall. You never know when a tree branch fell into the river upstream and will come crashing down.
on May 20,2013 | 07:05PM
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