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Puna man dies after tractor plunges off cliff

February 19, 2014 - 5:06pm

A Puna man died Wednesday after a tractor he was operating fell off a cliff and into a stream, according to the Hawaii Police Department.

Police identified him as 25-year-old Jose Luiz Hernandez-Miranda of Keaau.

Shortly after 11:26 a.m., police responded to a property on Mailekea Road, which is off Kaiwiki Road in the Wainaku area of Hilo. They learned Hernandez-Miranda had been operating a Ford tractor on a farm when he got too close to the edge of a 12-foot cliff above a stream and fell into the stream with the tractor.

Hawaii County Fire Department rescue personnel extricated him from the water and took him to Hilo Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 12:38 p.m.

Police have initiated a coroner’s inquest case and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. Because the accident happened on private property, the death is not included in the police department’s official fatality count.