VISIT TURNS TRAGIC NEAR LANAI LOOKOUT
Woman dies amid surging surf
A large wave washes over a group of six on a rocky ledge
A large wave crashed onto a group of mainland visitors on a ledge below the Lanai Lookout in East Honolulu yesterday, killing a 19-year-old Washington woman and injuring five others.
The visitors, all from Washington state, walked down a rocky cliff area to the water's edge. As they stood on the rocky ledge posing for photographs, "a large wave washed over the whole group, knocked them all down, and beat them up pretty good," said Jim Howe, Ocean Safety Division operations chief.
Ocean conditions were extremely rough at the time of the accident, and a-high surf advisory was in effect along the East Shore.
"It's a tragedy, but it could have been much worse," Howe said. "Five people walked away from this alive."
Howe noted that the visitors jumped over a wall and ignored posted warning signs.
When the 19-year-old woman was swept into the water, the lone man in the group jumped in to help her, Howe said.
The 30-year-old man was able to reach the woman, but the two were slammed by another wave, Howe said.
"He gets tossed up onto the rocks and seriously cut up," leaving the woman in the water, Howe said.
Someone using a cell phone called police, who immediately notified the Fire Department, which called lifeguards.
Upon arrival a fire rescue swimmer jumped in, swam to the woman and attempted to give her artificial respiration. She was placed onto a lifeguard rescue craft dispatched from Sandy Beach and was taken to nearby Hanauma Bay, where an ambulance was waiting, said Howe.
The man tried to crawl up on the rocks and was picked up by a fire helicopter and taken to Sandy Beach, Howe said.
The four remaining women, all approximately in their 20s, were taken to a waiting ambulance where they were treated. The ambulance then stopped at Sandy Beach to pick up the man and transported the five to Straub Hospital, Howe said.
The five were in stable condition, an Emergency Medical Services supervisor said.
The 19-year-old woman was taken by another ambulance to the Queen's Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
"People need to heed those warning signs," Howe said. If, however, anyone should experience something similar, he recommends swimming out to sea and waiting for help to arrive.
Three years ago along the same rocky Ka Iwi coastline, an 18-year-old Los Angeles man died after being blown into the air at the nearby Halona Blowhole.
On June 30, Daniel Dick walked to the Blowhole with a college-age Washington woman he met in Waikiki.
He straddled the Blowhole and was blown into the air by a surge of water, landing in the hole.
His body was found in the well of the Blowhole nearly 20 hours later.
Dick was vacationing with his mother and two younger brothers.