COURTESY OF KITV 4
Coast Guard search and rescue crews saved nine people yesterday from the ocean approximately two miles off Diamond Head. CLICK FOR LARGE
9 canoe paddlers rescued
Two boats swamp, leaving crews in the sea without life vests
Nine people were rescued after two outrigger canoes swamped in rough waters off Diamond Head yesterday morning.
At about 9 a.m., an Atlantis Submarine inflatable boat reported that nine people from two outrigger canoes were in the water two miles out.
Other paddlers with the Lokahi Canoe Club pulled up to the inflatable to tell pilot Drew Malloy about the situation.
"I asked if any of them had a VHF radio or phone, and they didn't, so that's why I called the Coast Guard," Malloy said. "I was also told they didn't have any flotation devices."
The Coast Guard diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Ahi and a helicopter and rescue crew from Barbers Point. Rescue crews from the Honolulu Fire Department also responded.
When the inflatable arrived at the scene Malloy saw the nine men and women in the water, swimming among swells of up to 7 feet.
"The canoes were completely swamped," Malloy said. "We brought in three of them. One of them didn't even know how to swim. We just brought in whoever was in the most trouble."
Some of the paddlers opted to stay to try and recover the canoes, which were eventually towed back to shore by the Coast Guard.
"What was hurting them the most was that the waves were really strong," Malloy said.
Four of the paddlers were plucked out of the water by the Ahi, while two more were brought in by a fire rescue boat, said fire Capt. Earle Kealoha.
"We had a positive outcome in this rescue because of the combination of a quick thinking of a good Samaritan and the great interagency teamwork between the Coast Guard and Honolulu Fire Department," said Lt. Jorge Valente, a Coast Guard search and rescue specialist.
It wasn't the first time Malloy was involved in a rescue.
"Oh it happens quite regularly off of Waikiki," Malloy said. "We're always there and willing to lend a helping hand."