Logout|My Dashboard
  • Subscribe

Family rescued off Hanakapi‘ai

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Monday, March 29, 2010 11:45 pm

LIHU‘E — A multi-agency response Sunday afternoon led to the successful recovery of a family who got into trouble off Hanakapi‘ai Beach on Na Pali Coast, a county press release states.

A 43-year-old father and his two sons, ages 10 and 12, were rescued from a cave west of Hanakapi‘ai Beach on Sunday after a long operation, the release states.

The father had the presence of mind to push one of his sons into a sea cave after the two boys got swept out to sea in strong currents off Hanakapi‘ai Beach, the release states.

The family, visiting from Bend, Ore., hiked in to Hanakapi‘ai Beach and were getting ready to eat lunch when the incident occurred, according to a preliminary report.

The father was cutting up some fruit for his sons when one of the boys went to the edge of the ocean water and got swept out by the extremely strong current. The other boy went in to help, but he got swept out as well, the release states.

The father then grabbed a rescue tube that was in the area and jumped in the water. After finding one of his sons, the father placed him on the rescue tube and the current swept them around a bend towards a cave.

The father then pushed his son into the cave and told him to climb as high as he could.

Next, the father went in search of his other son. He found that son clinging to rocks.

He put that son on the rescue tube and they made it to the cave where the other son was waiting. Together they waited for help to come, while clinging onto rocks in the cave, the release states.

A state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officer contacted Kaua‘i police dispatch around 3:10 p.m., triggering responses from Kaua‘i Fire Department’s Hanalei and Princeville Jet Ski 1, Zodiac 1, Truck 1 and Engine 1, along with Rescue 3 from the Lihu‘e station and Air-1 (Inter-Island Helicopters, out of Port Allen Airport).

Jet Ski 1 lifeguards with the KFD Ocean Safety Bureau were the first to arrive on scene, verifying three people in the cave, the release states.

Zodiac 1 arrived shortly afterward and determined the waves were too big for any vessel to safely approach the cave.

Instead, two of the firefighters in the Zodiac, Gavin Kennelly and Dane Smith, who are trainers in rescue-craft operations, decided to swim to the cave to save the family.

The boys were taken from the cave one at a time and brought to the Zodiac. Each rescue took approximately 45 minutes. After both boys were in the Zodiac, they were brought to Tunnels Beach.

The father was taken to Hanakapi‘ai Beach, where Air-1 with KFD rescue specialists on board picked him up using a Billy Pugh net, and brought him to Ke‘e Beach in Ha‘ena State Park.

The rescued family members were checked by American Medical Response professionals at their respective locations, and released at the scene.

They sustained only a few scratches, according to the release.

North Shore waves Sunday were forecast to be between 5 and 8 feet.

Since 1970, there have been over 30 drowning deaths at Hanakapi‘ai, according to various sources including Patrick Durkin’s Kaua‘i Beach Hazard Survey and the Web site teok.com (The Edge Of Kaua‘i Investigations), which indicates people getting swept westward from Hanakapi‘ai Beach normally find no safe exit point for three to six miles.

© 2015 Thegardenisland.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • haena7 posted at 7:13 pm on Sun, Apr 4, 2010.

    haena7 Posts: 75

    thank god for gavin, dane and that tube. that family is so lucky to be alive!

  • Jeepieboy posted at 12:01 pm on Tue, Mar 30, 2010.

    Jeepieboy Posts: 355

    I agree. It's a miracle they're all alive. Thanks to the donor who funded the rescue tubes, and our wonderful rescuers who risk their own lives. "ltereader" is right again-show the videos on all the planes-hope it includes Queens Bath too. On a pragamtic note, I would be curious just how much that whole rescue cost the taxpayers. Sorry to be cold, but so many visitors come here just thinking the whole island is a safe Disney-like theme park and they can do stupid things they wouldn't do at home.

  • ltereader posted at 8:10 am on Tue, Mar 30, 2010.

    ltereader Posts: 1637

    I will reiterate in saying...bring back the video on ALL planes arriving in Hawaii regarding the dangers of our ocean! There's far too many naive visitors, and as the tourist population continues to climb rescues have increased dramatically over the years. I bet if that Dad had seen the video he wouldn't have allowed his children near the water out there!
    And yes, thank goodness for the tube -and- for those trained in rescues like this!

  • Kapahiresident posted at 7:13 am on Tue, Mar 30, 2010.

    Kapahiresident Posts: 169

    Re: the family's rescue from Hanakapi'ais water:
    Thank Goodness that the Red Rescue tube was there, and there were witnesses to notify the Rescue Operations. It is incredible nobody died.
    The article suggests that the strong current pulled out the son when he was just by the ocean, and he was not planning to go in.
    Idea: Could someone who frequents that beach, put up another (hand-made) sign there, alerting folk not to even get CLOSE to the Ocean there due to the strong currents?


Online poll

What's the biggest issue facing Kauai right now?

1. 2. 3. s 4. 5. 6.

Total Votes: 10


Most Popular

Follow us on Facebook