Owner of Diamond Head fallen rock ledge in dispute
Government agencies yesterday disputed the land ownership below Diamond Head lighthouse, where a rockfall Monday injured a 44-year-old woman.
"Some of it was on federal land and some of it was on state," said Chief Petty Officer Marsha Delaney, Coast Guard spokeswoman.
But an official with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said the land is owned by the Coast Guard.
"We're going to have to check that out," said spokeswoman Deborah Ward. According to Ward, a parcel from the lighthouse to the shoreline is owned by the Coast Guard.
Sometime before 9 a.m. Monday, the woman was sitting under a rock ledge at Diamond Head Beach Park when part of it broke off and fell.
She suffered injuries to her upper body and was taken to the Queen's Medical Center by ambulance in serious condition, said spokesman Capt. Terry Seelig of the Honolulu Fire Department.
The affected site, which spans more than 100 feet, remained marked by yellow tape yesterday.
DLNR officials who assessed the area said it was not exactly a rockfall, but a "toppling or slumping event of sedimentary rock and soil from one of the overhanging sections of a bluff caused by erosion from surf," Ward said.
"It looked like a natural erosion process," said Morris Atta of DLNR's Land Division, one of two officials who assessed the site yesterday.
Two engineers from the Coast Guard's Civil Engineering Unit also assessed the area yesterday.
Two large chunks of the hillside that broke off, one the size of a compact car and the other the size of a delivery truck, will not be removed because they are not impeding beach access, Delaney said.
Rusty Jones, 62, who frequents the beach that is peppered with grains of sand that sparkle under the sun, described the toppling as a random incident. "I likened it to getting almost struck by lightning," said Jones, a native of Chicago.
Still, more signs are needed to warn people, Jones said. One sign warning beachgoers of rockfall hazards was observed at the end of Beach Road.