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Hawaii island police report 2 ocean-related deaths

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Hawaii island police are investigating two separate, ocean-related deaths involving visitors that took place within 24 hours of each other on the west side. No foul play is suspected in either case.

Police said just before 8 p.m. on Wednesday, patrol officers responded to a report of an unresponsive woman aboard a snorkeling tour boat at Keauhou Bay.

Staff from the boat said that a group left the boat to go snorkeling at 5:45 p.m., but that two hours later, a 62-year-old woman began having difficulty breathing. She was assisted to the boat’s deck, where she remained conscious for 10 minutes before becoming unresponsive.

Staff performed CPR on her as the vessel returned to dock, and were met by medics from the Hawaii Fire Department, who continued CPR on the way to Kona Community Hospital. She was pronounced dead at the hospital at 8:44 p.m.

Authorities have identified her as Barbara Bentrup, of St. Louis, Missouri.

Police are also investigating a possible drowning Thursday morning in South Kohala.

At about 11:30 a.m., officers responded to a report of an unresponsive man pulled from the ocean at Kaunaoa Bay.

A lifeguard had pulled him to shore after observing him face-down in the ocean, and had begun CPR until HFD medics arrived on scene. Firefighters continued CPR while transporting the man to Queen’s North Hawaii Community Hospital, who was pronounced dead at 12:22 p.m.

Authorities have identified him as Charles Yanez, 68, of Katy, Texas.

Police have initiated coroner’s inquests and ordered autopsies for both deaths.

Anyone with information should call the police department’s non-emergency line at 808-935-3311.

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