Surf kills 2 men trying to rescue one's wife
ANINI BEACH, Kauai » Two men drowned Sunday afternoon while trying to save a woman swept out to sea in the extremely large surf on Kauai's North Shore.
The men, identified as Glenn Manning of Wichita, Kan., and Ronald Rowlett of Vacaville, Calif., were trying to save Manning's wife, who was on an inflatable flotation device, Kauai officials said yesterday. Her name was not released.
The three had been near the Anini River mouth, at the far end of a mile-long reef, when strong currents pulled her out, county officials said.
Manning and Rowlett responded to the woman's cries for help but apparently were swept onto the reef, officials said. Manning's wife, meanwhile, apparently stayed atop the flotation device and was swept into the channel and away from harm.
Waves at the time were estimated to have 20- to 30-foot faces.
According to Kauai Fire Department Battalion Chief Shawn Hosaka, one of the men was spotted climbing onto the shallow reef, but a set came in and he was not seen again until lifeguards pulled him unconscious from the water.
Lifeguards, who responded via jet-ski from the Hanalei tower, had to sneak in between the large sets, first to pull the woman from the water and then to retrieve the two men, Hosaka said.
Unharmed but shaken, Manning's wife was taken to Wilcox Hospital for observation, officials said.
While Anini's large reef usually protects swimmers from wave action, the large size of the swell intensified the rip currents in the river mouth, Hosaka said.
According to county officials, drowning has been confirmed as the cause of death for both men.