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Body found in Hilo Bay identified as man swept away in Wailuku River

The body of a 61-year-old California man who was swept away in the Wailuku River has been positively identified.

Hawaii island police said the body of George Novinger of Spring Valley, Calif., was discovered Dec. 1 in the the Wainaku area of Hilo Bay. He was identified by dental records.

Novinger and his wife, Gladys, fell into the water while crossing the river above the falls at Rainbow Falls State Park in Hilo on Nov. 25. She was extricated by helicopter from a pool below the falls and taken to the Hilo Medical Center, where she died at 4:25 p.m as the search for George Novinger continued.

Novinger’s body was found at the bottom of a 35-foot cliff along the shoreline, police said.

“Autopsies on both victims were performed, but the cause of death has been deferred pending toxicology results, though preliminary results indicate that both died as a result of fresh water drowning,” police said in a press release.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the police at (808) 935-3311; or contact Det. Dean Uyetake at (808) 961-2379,

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