Springs man found dead off beach in Hawaii

September 18, 2013 Updated: September 18, 2013 at 10:45 am

A man found dead in the waters of Hawaii over the weekend has been identified as Leo Bennett, an 81-year-old Colorado Springs resident.

Bennett was found unresponsive Sunday off Makua Beach on the north side of the island of Kauai. He had been snorkeling in calm water off the beach, known as Tunnels, according to Kauai County officials.

Bystanders found him face down and pulled him from the water. They performed CPR, but he was pronounced dead at a hospital. An autopsy has been ordered to determine cause of death.

Bennett and his wife were thrilled for their Hawaii vacation, which they called "the trip of a lifetime," said Rich Hakkarinen, a friend, on Tuesday. Hakkarinen and Bennett served together on the Snowflake Condominiums' homeowners association board of directors at Copper Mountain, where Bennett owned a condo.

Bennett was in excellent shape, Hakkarinen said.

Hakkarinen recalled Bennett as a man who made great progress for the homeowners' association.

"He was an excellent leader, and we're really going to miss him," he said.

According to Bennett's biography on the homeowners' association website, he retired in 1992 after working 38 years in the computer industry.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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