Crews recover body of teen missing in Big Island waters

John Joey Buentipo
John Joey Buentipo

PUNA, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Emergency search and rescue crews on the Big Island have recovered a body that is believed to be that of a 17-year-old teenager who has been missing since Friday afternoon in waters off Kea'au.

Family members identified the victim as John Joey Buentipo. He was getting ready to graduate from Keaau High School and planned on becoming a nurse.

Reports indicate that the boy had been swimming with friends near the Shipman Estates Beach when he was caught in a strong current and swept out of the bay. Fire Department officials responded to a call at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Friday.

"His friend went to get him and they were so close. His friend got him but a wave came and separated them and pushed his friend to the rock and when he got up and looked, my brother was gone," said Glenda Buentipo, the victim's sister.

Search and rescue crews using helicopters, rescue boats and dive equipment searched for the boy until last Friday afternoon, when the search was suspended because of poor visibility.

The body was recovered Saturday morning near where he went missing.

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