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.”