Examination reveals sky divers died of drowning
Frank Hinshaw, owner of Skydive Hawaii, was hopeful that the autopsy of a sky-diving veteran who died last week would say the cause of death was anything but drowning.
But the city Medical Examiner's Office determined 69-year-old Erich "Max" Mueller's death was a result of drowning after his parachute's cords had become tangled in the reef Friday and trapped him underwater along with a Japanese tourist who also died.
The Medical Examiner's Office said Saori Takahashi, 33, died because of the lack of oxygen to her brain when she was trapped underwater for 10 minutes.
Hinshaw said Mueller was an experienced skydiver and knew how to land and how to untangle himself from the parachute's cords.
Hinshaw thought something -- like a stroke or heart attack -- prevented Mueller from doing his job.
"There was something that caused him to be limp in the parachute," Hinshaw said. "Something prevented him from doing the right thing, and we still don't know what that is.
"I was hoping the medical examiner's report would say."
There was a problem with a parachute that caused Mueller and Takahashi to overshoot their landing zone and go into the ocean right where the waves were breaking, Hinshaw said.
He said both were conscious when they hit the water, but rescue crews did not reach them in time.
The Medical Examiner's Office said it will conduct more tests today.