Fires and tickets mark holiday
As Oahu residents celebrated the Fourth of July yesterday, Honolulu firefighters were busy putting out small fires across the island while police officers issued citations for revelers at Ala Moana Beach Park.
As of 8:30 p.m., Honolulu Fire Capt. Terry Seelig said 14 of the 24 fires they responded to yesterday began from fireworks. Of the 15 wildfires, Seelig said nine likely began from fireworks.
Most of the fires were small, with only one engine responding, and were put out fairly quickly, Seelig said.
Meanwhile, as of 6 p.m., Honolulu police officers issued about 150 citations as a part of their crackdown on violators setting fireworks and drinking alcohol in public at Ala Moana Beach Park. There were no arrests as of yesterday afternoon.
Sgt. William Axt said uniformed and plainclothes officers were patrolling the park.
Of the citations, none was for playing with fireworks in the park. About 50 were for alcohol consumption in public, and the rest were for miscellaneous violations, including not wearing seat belts in the car or not leashing their pets.
About 30 vehicles were towed for blatant illegal parking, Axt said.
Cause of helicopter crash cited
A loss of engine power caused a helicopter carrying four passengers to crash near Hana in January 2006, leaving the pilot seriously injured, according to the investigation report released last week.
The National Transportation Safety Board said the engine lost power due to fatigue failure in a turbine blade.
A close examination of the fractured airfoil blades indicated they were overstressed. The engine's blade had a service life of 6,000 hours; at the time of the crash, it had logged 2,986 hours.
As a result, the engine's manufacturer -- Turbomeca USA -- has reduced the service life of second-stage turbine blades in half to 3,000 hours and implemented additional inspection criteria, the report said.
An unsuitable forced landing site was also a factor in the accident, the report said.
On Jan. 10, 2006, four passengers -- including a couple celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary -- were on a scenic tour with Kahului-based company Sunshine Helicopters Inc.
About 45 minutes into the flight, at 8:45 a.m., as the pilot was pointing out a waterfall, the helicopter lurched to the left and quickly descended into Manawainui Gulch.
Passengers helped the pilot, whose leg was pinned and broken. They had minor injuries, and all were taken to Maui Memorial Hospital.
Special Ops force gets new chief
An Army general with years of experience in South America took over Tuesday as the new commander of U.S. Special Operations forces in the Pacific, including U.S. efforts to help the Philippines defeat al-Qaida-linked terrorists.
Brig. Gen. Salvatore Cambria will oversee Green Berets, Navy SEALs, air commandos and special-operations Marines assigned to the Asia-Pacific region.
Hundreds of such forces have been serving in the Philippines since 2002, training local soldiers and promoting humanitarian projects to win over local populations and isolate terrorists.
Cambria will oversee the Philippine operation from his headquarters at Camp H.M. Smith in the hills above Pearl Harbor.
He comes to Hawaii from the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, where he was director of operations for U.S. troops in Central and South America.
"A lot of things that the special-operations forces are doing in Latin America, folks are doing here in this theater," Cambria said after a change-of-command ceremony. "They're very similar, just different countries, different regions."
Cambria succeeds Maj. Gen. David Fridovich, who has been promoted to help lead global anti-terror efforts from U.S. Special Operations command headquarters in Tampa, Fla.
Police, Fire, Courts
Man charged in Waialua stabbing
Police charged a 45-year-old man with attempted murder yesterday in the death of a man stabbed in Waialua two weeks ago.
Thomas Lee Manijo, who has no local address, will make his court appearance this morning and is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Police arrested him on Monday after detectives received a tip. A 48-year-old man was also arrested but has been released. Police also arrested a 32-year-old woman last week in connection with the crime, but she was released.
At 6:30 a.m. June 22, a 32-year-old man was found severely beaten in some bushes in an undeveloped area on Cane Haul Road. Emergency crews discovered he had multiple stab wounds. He was transported to the hospital in critical condition.*
Girl, 3, hit by car after wandering into traffic
A 3-year-old girl was seriously injured yesterday after she darted out onto Kamehameha Highway and was struck by a car near Kokololio Beach in Hauula, police said.
The girl was walking out from in front of a parked car and was struck by a car going about 15 mph around 4:20 p.m., officials said.
The girl was first taken to Kahuku Hospital and later airlifted to the Queen's Medical Center in serious condition, said Bryan Cheplic, spokesman for the city's Emergency Services Department.
Woman arrested in alleged assault on ex-husband
A 32-year-old Village Park woman was arrested Tuesday after she allegedly assaulted her ex-husband near Waipahu.
Police said the woman and man, 32, were arguing at about 5:15 p.m. when the woman reached into the man's vehicle and assaulted him.
The woman was arrested on suspicion of unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle.
Man dies cliff-diving
A 56-year-old Kealakekua man died after suffering head injuries while diving in Kona.*
Gary P. Pooler died from asphyxia due to near-drowning because of his head injuries, authorities said. Police said Pooler dived off a 25-foot cliff into the ocean at Hokulia Beach on Sunday when he was injured.
Pooler was transported to the Queen's Medical Center, where he died on Monday.
Diver's light leads to man's body floating in water
A 37-year-old Pahala man died Tuesday night while diving at Whittington Beach Park in Kau.
He was identified as Leo Norberte.
At 8:06 p.m., Big Island firefighters responded to a call from a bystander about a possible diver in distress. The bystander noticed the diving light was floating in the same area for two hours about 100 yards offshore, police said. Norberte was last seen walking along the shoreline to the dive spot alone, the Fire Department said.
Firefighters searched for Norberte with two helicopters and rescue divers. Almost three hours later at 10:45 p.m., rescue divers found him about 150 yards offshore in water about 10 to 12 feet deep, police said.
He was taken to Kau Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy is scheduled to determine the exact cause of death.
Big Island fire doused; 1 Maui blaze still burns
Firefighters on Big Island and Maui continued to battle major brush fires, though two of them were contained and under control yesterday.
A fire that burned 9,139 acres of brush in Waikoloa suspected to have been set by an arsonist Sunday was contained at 6:30 a.m. yesterday. Big Island firefighters were still extinguishing flare-ups but were able to contain the blaze within a perimeter formed by highways, roads and an old lava flow.
Firefighters are expected to be out there for at least two more days, watching over the area since flare-ups can still occur.
On Maui the brush fire that began last Wednesday, burning 2,600 acres and two homes in Olowalu, was brought under control at 1:50 p.m. yesterday, said Mahina Martin, Maui County spokeswoman. The blaze had displaced hundreds of visitors who stayed in emergency shelters because roads were shut down.
But Maui crews are continuing to fight a fire in Lahaina that scorched 180 acres of brush. By yesterday afternoon they had 90 percent of the fire contained, Martin said.
Friday, July 6, 2007
» The victim in the June 22 Waialua stabbing was critically injured, but he survived. A "Police/Fire" brief headline on Page A5 yesterday incorrectly reported that the man died. Also, the ambulance crew knew immediately that the man had been stabbed. The brief incorrectly said the crew discovered multiple stab wounds while taking the man to the hospital.
» Police are not conducting a homicide investigation into the death of Gary P. Pooler, a Big Island man who sustained head injuries in a diving accident in Kona. A police brief on Page A5 yesterday incorrectly said that police have opened a homicide investigation. The brief also incorrectly said the accident occurred in Hilo.