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Drowning Snorkler drowns off of Haena

Victim was reportedly caught in rip current

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Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014 1:30 am

LIHUE — A snorkler caught in a current off Haena Beach Park drowned Wednesday afternoon.

Kauai County Ocean Safety officials confirmed on Thursday that attempts to resuscitate a 65-year-old female visitor from Washington state were not successful.

A press release said lifeguards noticed three snorkelers in distress and waving for help around 2 p.m. Wednesday. Two lifeguards responded on rescue boards to find the adult woman unresponsive.

The lifeguards radioed in that the woman was not breathing and were attempting CPR.

“We are floating in the water and can’t do anything,” the responder said.

Two Water Safety personnel from Hanalei Pavilion launched a Jet Ski 1 to assist and met with the lifeguards after several minutes.

Kauai Fire Engine 1 and Medic 22 reported they were in route to the scene at 2:08 p.m. The transfer point at Makua (Tunnels) Beach was crowded and they radioed a change at nearby Chun’s reef access.

The victim was transferred and medics continued CPR en route to Wilcox Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Police have not released the victim’s identity. The other two females, one adult and one child, were not hurt. They said a strong current pulled them out to deep water, according to a county news release.

The National Weather Service posted Kee surf heights at 2 to 4 feet at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday.

This is Kauai’s second drowning this year. The first occurred on March 15, when a 79-year-old male visitor from Arkansas, drowned while snorkeling off of Poipu.

Ocean safety officials remind the public that dangerous conditions can occur at any beach at any time. Always speak to a lifeguard or a local swimmer or fisherman before entering the ocean in an unfamiliar area to help you recognize hazards such as rip currents.

“Swimmers frequently panic when getting caught in a rip current, but you cannot outswim a rip current,” said Ocean Safety Bureau Supervisor Kalani Vierra. “If you get caught in a rip current, kee p calm to conserve energy and don’t fight the current. Go with the flow and allow it take you away from the beach until it releases you. Then, if you are able, swim away from the current and back to shore. Otherwise, wave your hands for help and wait for assistance.”

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  • objectivity posted at 9:01 am on Tue, Apr 22, 2014.

    objectivity Posts: 76

    My condolences to the family. This is a very sad thing to happen so close to a tower.

    It almost feels absurd and trite to even bring this up in this tragic situation, but our newspaper really needs to step it up a notch. Snorkler? Really??? There is no such word as snorkler. A tube you breath through while swimming is called a snorkel and a person who uses one is a snorkeler. And using it is called snorkeling. Even my web browser's spell checker catches that. Even worse it was featured in the headline.

  • HawaiianI posted at 7:47 pm on Fri, Apr 18, 2014.

    HawaiianI Posts: 61

    Its about time the chiefs of lifeguards re-think their strategies for Kauai. The guy who drowned at Crack 14 was a sign of lifeguards not foreseeing where surfers would be taking chances when a east swell hit that side with full force. On that occasion there was almost no reason to patrol Kealia, as it was unmanageable. You have to close the beach and try get ahead of problems. Hanalei is the same thing.....I had to watch a friend who was relaxing on the beach run towards MIddles and try save a person in distress after we watched him for over 10 mins and lifeguards never saw it....cause Hanalei Bay was going off so ....watching surf. Not to mention the time I went surf Cannons and this old guard lifeguard come try moke....."I never seen you here in my life?" So lots of egos on the towers getting in the way.

  • Hopsing posted at 10:14 am on Fri, Apr 18, 2014.

    Hopsing Posts: 51

    Lifeguard fail. A very small area, all right in front of the tower.


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