Updated: September 27, 2022
A Hawai‘i Island woman is dead, and a man was injured when power lines fell on a parked vehicle they were in near a residential property in the Hawai‘ian Shores subdivision in Pāhoa on Tuesday.
Hawai‘i Island police report that the 59-year-old woman was killed and a 58-year-old man was injured in the incident.
Puna patrol officers responded to the report of a vehicle fire at around 8:41 p.m. on Oct. 12, 2021, which had originated from downed power lines in the area of ʻOʻopu Street and Kahakai Boulevard.
Officers determined that a man and a woman were seated in the parked vehicle in the 15-2700 block of ʻOʻopu Street when a portion of a tree fell onto the power lines causing the energized lines to fall and come into contact with the roof of the vehicle and nearby surrounding foliage.
The downed lines continued to arc on the roof of the vehicle. The male occupant exited the vehicle by climbing through a rear tailgate window that had been previously removed and exited without incident.
The female occupant then attempted to exit the vehicle through the same tailgate window and subsequently fell on a galvanized gate that was directly behind the vehicle. As she fell she came into contact with the fence, as well as the vehicle, and was electrocuted, according to department reports. Police say the man attempted to pull the female to safety but was unsuccessful and he was subsequently thrown to the ground by the force of the electricity.
The male occupant was treated at the scene for minor injuries. The woman was transported to Hilo Medical Center where she was later pronounced dead.
Area I Criminal Investigation Section is investigating the incident, which has been classified as a public accident, and a coroner’s inquest investigation has been initiated. An autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death.
The victim’s identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed the accident or who has information about the incident to contact Lieutenant Rio Amon-Wilkins of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 808-961-2252 or via email at rio.amon-wilkins@Hawaiicounty.gov or call the police department’s non-emergency line at 808-935-3311.