A woman was found dead and her husband, a former diplomat, is missing after the couple was swept down a Hawaii river while they were on vacation for an early Christmas present, reports said.
Gladys and George Novinger, of Spring Valley, Calif., were attempting to cross the Wailuku River around 12:30 p.m. Saturday when they were swept into the river and went over an 80-foot waterfall, Hawaii police said. Gladys Novinger, 62, was discovered in the pool below Rainbow Falls and was taken to the hospital. She was pronounced dead later that day.
Search teams continued to look for George Novinger on Tuesday after authorities suspended it on Sunday due to “hazardous conditions.”
George Novinger had told friends about the Hawaii trip with his wife before they left, calling it a Christmas gift, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Gladys Novinger’s son, Joseph Harmes III, told the newspaper he was with them when they were swept away.
“They were the best of the best. It is beyond tragic. They are missed deeply,” Harmes said. “I will always carry them in my heart. And I dedicate my life to their legacy.”
George Novinger retired as a diplomat for the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service and specialized in East Asian affairs.
The couple also owned the Hacienda Vineyards in Rancho San Diego, Calif., according to San Diego Union-Tribune.