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Spitting Cave drowning victim identified

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The Medical Examiner’s office has identified the 21-year-old Washington state man, who died Saturday after being found in waters off Spitting Cave, as Yevgeniy Novikov.

The victim was with four other men when he got into trouble just before 3 p.m. He was the only one to go into the water.

His was the third death at Spitting Cave in about a year and a half, promoting new calls that signs be erected warning the public of danger of swimming in the area.

In April 2014, a 19-year-old sailor died after jumping into the water and getting swept out to sea. About three months later, a 22-year-old woman died after she jumped into the ocean and couldn’t get out.

The 21-year-old man from Washington state apparently was underwater for more than a half-hour. Rescue crews were unable to retrieve the unresponsive swimmer because of the turbulence in the 4- to 8-foot surf.

Ocean Safety Lt. Charles Oliveri said lifeguards on personal watercraft could see the man in the water, but couldn’t reach him because of the turbulence.

Lifeguards, however, stayed at the spot until firefighters with scuba gear were able to retrieve the body from about 100 feet of water and took him to the Hawaii Kai boat ramp.

Friends said the man climbed down a ladder on the east side of Spitting Cave and got into the water alone. When he tried to get out, he was overcome by surf and went underwater.

Both Oliveri and Honolulu Fire Department Battalion Chief John Bowers said visitors have been drawn to the attraction by videos online of people making radical dives off the cliff into the ocean, but they don’t realize how treacherous the ocean can be.

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