Crews recover body believed to be man swept away near Halona Blowhole

Crews recover body believed to be man swept away near Halona Blowhole

HAWAII KAI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu firefighters recovered the body of missing man in the waters off Halona Blowhole Tuesday morning.

Coast Guard officials say 19-year-old Tajhee Williams had recently moved to Hawai'i from New York.

The teen's body was discovered just after 7 a.m. submerged in about 20 feet of water.

"Rescue divers indicated that the description of the person that they brought up matches the description of the missing swimmer from yesterday," said Battalion Chief Albert Mahoe, the Honolulu Fire Department's  Incident Commander.

According to eyewitnesses, the victim and a friend had been walking along the shoreline near the blowhole around 6:30 Monday night when waves swept him off the rocks.

"The other kid was just running around back and forth screaming his head off and we were afraid he was going to jump in so we were yelling at him, 'Don't jump! Don't jump!'" described Ernest Shih.

It's unclear whether the pair hiked in to the blowhole from beach access on either side -- or if they walked past warning signs at the lookout, which officials say too often people choose to ignore.

"The signs are there for a purpose and unfortunately, this is one of the proven points of the tragedy that can happen," said Chief Mahoe.

Witnesses describe watching everything unfold as unsettling.

"It was awful. I mean, you're so helpless. You don't know what to do. I mean, there's nothing you can do. I wish we had something we could just throw in there so he could just float and grab onto something while help comes, but I don't know what his friend could've done or anybody could've done. It's just that they should not have been so close," said Shih.

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