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Woman who died after plunging over Rainbow Falls is identified

  • TIM WRIGHT / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

    Police and fire personnel responded to the Rainbow Falls State Park on Saturday for a report of a couple who fell into the water while crossing the river above the falls.

Hawaii island police have identified the woman who died after plunging over Rainbow Falls as Gladys Novinger, 62, of Spring Valley, Calif.

Search teams continued today to look for a man, 61, who also went over the cascade after falling into the Wailuku River above Hilo. But the search was suspended at 10 a.m. due to heavy rain and the risk of flash flooding, the Hawaii County Fire Department said.

At 12:39 p.m. Saturday, 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 died at 4:25 p.m.

The missing man has not yet been located and the search was expected to resume Tuesday morning, weather and river conditions permitting, the Fire Department said. 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, 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 at (808) 961-2379 or email him here.

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