Former US diplomat is missing and his wife is dead after they were swept down a river above an 80-foot waterfall in Hawaii

  • A former U.S. diplomat is believed dead after he and his wife were swept down the Wailuku River above Rainbow Falls in Hawaii?
  • Gladys Novinger, 62, was found dead on Saturday afternoon in the pool below
  • Recently retired diplomat George T. Novinger, 61, remains missing
  • The couple was on vacation in Hawaii with their son as an early Christmas gift?

A woman was found dead and a former U.S. diplomat remains missing after the couple were swept down a Hawaii river on Saturday while on vacation.?

The search for a former U.S. diplomat, George T. Novinger, 61, continued on Tuesday after it was called off Sunday afternoon due to 'hazardous conditions'. He is not expected to have survived.

Gladys Novinger, 62, was found unconscious on Saturday afternoon in the pool below the 80-foot tall Rainbow Falls on the Wailuku River.

Gladys Novinger, 62 (left), died on Saturday after she and her husband George (right) were swept over an 80-foot tall waterfall in Hawaii

Gladys Novinger, 62 (left), died on Saturday after she and her husband George (right) were swept over an 80-foot tall waterfall in Hawaii

The couple, who were enjoying the vacation as an early Christmas gift, were apparently trying to cross the river at around 12.30pm on Saturday when they were swept underwater.

Authorities were notified when witnesses spotted the pair struggling about 100 yards above the falls before disappearing beneath the surface, according to KHON2.

Gladys was found not breathing and without a pulse when she was pulled from the pools below the falls.?

The couple was on vacation in Hawaii with their son as an early Christmas gift

The couple was on vacation in Hawaii with their son as an early Christmas gift

Recently retired diplomat George T. Novinger, 61, remains missing. He worked for the U.S. State Department's Foreign Service

Recently retired diplomat George T. Novinger, 61, remains missing. He worked for the U.S. State Department's Foreign Service

She was transported by helicopter to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Her son Joseph Harmes III was with the couple when tragedy struck.

'They were the best of the best. It is beyond tragic. They are missed deeply,' he said in an email to San Diego Union Tribune. 'I will always carry them in my heart. And I dedicate my life to their legacy.'

George was a?recently retired diplomat for the U.S. State Department's Foreign Service who specialized in East Asian affairs.

The couple owned Vineyard Hacienda in San Diego.?

The couple was apparently trying to cross the river at around 12.30pm on Saturday when they were swept underwater.

The couple was apparently trying to cross the river at around 12.30pm on Saturday when they were swept underwater.

Authorities were notified when witnesses spotted the pair struggling about 100 yards above the falls before disappearing underwater

Gladys was found not breathing and without a pulse when she was pulled from the pools below the falls

Gladys was found not breathing and without a pulse when she was pulled from the pools below the falls

'He served our country in Japan (three times), South Korea, Hong Kong, Brunei and Paraguay before completing his overseas diplomatic postings as Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in Damascus, Syria,' according to the Vineyard Hacienda website.?

'His final position before retirement was as the State Department's Regional Director of Foreign Missions in Southwestern states.'?

His wife Gladys was born in Peru and served as Honorary Consul of Peru.?

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