A 49-year-old man died yesterday morning on the Big Island while picking opihi off Waiahukini Beach in Kau.
Friends of the man said he fell into the water while picking the small, edible shellfish from rocks.
The friends tried to pull him ashore using a gallon jug tied to a rope, but the man was unable to catch the jug or rope.
The man continued to tread water for about five minutes before his friends spotted him floating face down in the water.
Firefighters aboard a helicopter pulled him to shore and put him aboard an ambulance to Kau Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, said acting Fire Capt. Victor Boranian.
The cause of the mans death had not been determined yesterday. His name was withheld until positive identification could be established and relatives notified.