POSTED: Sunday, March 01, 2009

Whale crash puts boater in hospital

LAHAINA » A humpback whale collided with a research boat, knocking a woman to the deck and sending her to the hospital.

Maui Police Capt. Charles Hirata says the crew of the vessel Hokulani was near a pod of whales Friday when one whale went under the boat and surfaced on the starboard side. The whale's fin came down and crushed a thin railing on the 26-foot twin-outboard catamaran. The woman was standing at the bow of the boat and hit her head when she fell.

“;They actually have a video of it,”; Hirata said. “;You can see a person standing there and the flipper hitting the side of the boat.”; The victim is 61 years old and from Bremerton, Wash. She has not been identified, and police say she was conscious and alert when the ambulance arrived.

The research boat for the Center for Whale Studies had the required permits to venture near the endangered and federally protected whales, said Naomi McIntosh, superintendent for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whales National Marine Sanctuary. The incident will be investigated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, McIntosh said.

This was the third collision involving a whale and a vessel this season in Maui waters, McIntosh said. No injuries were reported in the other collisions.

Army to address cultural sites

The U.S. Army will hold a public hearing beginning at 6:30 p.m. March 9 at the Nanaikapono Elementary School cafeteria to help prioritize access to 116 cultural and archeological sites at the Makua Military Reservation. The list is available at the Waianae, Kapolei and Hawaii State public libraries or online at http://www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/sitelistmmr. Or by mail to: U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division, Attn: Cultural Site List Comments; 947 Wright Ave; Wheeler Army Airfield Schofield Barracks, HI 96857-5013.

Public comments may also be submitted via e-mail to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or via fax to (808) 656-1039.

The deadline for comments is March 27. The Army will review the information and public comments received to prepare a draft list of high-priority sites. The final list will be published in June.

Waimanalo gets extra dose of sirens

Residents around the Bellows Air Force Base in Waimanalo will hear some extra Civil Defense sirens tomorrow and Tuesday in addition to its usual monthly tests at 11:45 a.m. tomorrow throughout the state.

The additional testing in Waimanalo will take place before 10 a.m. tomorrow and continue intermittently through the morning and afternoon; and may take place Tuesday morning, weather permitting, a release said

Siren sounds may be carried by the wind to windward Oahu near Bellows.