Dangerous waves kill man, hinder search for Kauai surfer


POSTED: Sunday, March 15, 2009

The waves might have looked inviting, but strong currents made conditions dangerous at Sandy Beach yesterday.

;[Preview]    Maunalua Waves Claim Local Fisherman’s Life

A 62-year-old man dies after his boat and crewmen ran into trouble as they were headed out to sea around Portlock.



“;I almost died out there,”; said 22-year-old Jenie Tandaguen, of Kaimuki, after venturing into the water with her boyfriend Tim Ashton despite red flags warning of high surf.

“;I drifted out a little too far, then I started to panic,”; she said.

Her boyfriend pushed her onto a wave, and both rode in. Once on the sand, Tandaguen was shaken and winded.

“;She shouldn't have been out there,”; said lifeguard Donovan Lewis, who kept a close eye on the couple and had warned them to get out of the water because they were not wearing fins.

Waves at Sandy Beach were about 8 feet high yesterday, and a high-surf warning that had been in effect since Friday was downgraded to an advisory yesterday afternoon.

Honolulu police said a rogue wave hit a boat yesterday morning and knocked a 60-year-old man overboard in Maunalua Bay off Hawaii Kai in choppy seas. The man apparently drowned.

In another incident, strong currents and waves swamped a canoe carrying eight people off Magic Island yesterday afternoon. On Kauai, searchers were unable yesterday to recover the body of a surfer missing near Anahola since Friday afternoon.

The 34-year-old man, from Moloaa, was reported missing at about 1:41 p.m. Friday when he failed to return to shore after losing his surfboard. He was last seen at a surf spot called “;Crack 14”; around the bend from Kuna Bay.

A Kauai County news release said fire officials will assess the situation today to determine what course of action to take.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Luke Clayton said what might have been the man's body was spotted in the area where he was last seen. Rough seas prevented the Coast Guard's 31-foot motor lifeboat from reaching the site.

Firefighters conducted a ground search that spanned about 2.5 miles between the surf spot and Kealia Beach while lifeguards searched the water on Jet Skis. The Coast Guard's HH-65 helicopter, C-130 plane and 31-foot motor lifeboat covered about 200 square miles since Friday.

On Oahu, a Fire Department helicopter lifted a 60-year-old man found floating in the water in Maunalua Bay. Firefighters were called at 8:20 a.m. Fire Capt. Robert Main, spokesman for the Honolulu Fire Department, said the man was unresponsive. Personnel administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation before paramedics transported him to Straub, where he was pronounced dead.

Main said the man was fully clothed when found in the water and was on the boat with another person.

A few hours later, a canoe with eight people overturned off of Magic Island at 2:40 p.m., Main said. The group were on its way to spread the ashes of a loved one when it ran into trouble. Lifeguards on Jet Skis rescued six of the eight people, while the other two stayed with the canoe. One person complained of chest pains.

Heavy rain on Oahu prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood warning for several hours early yesterday morning.

Minor flooding and ponding occurred in Kunia, Ewa Beach and other areas yesterday morning, but there were no significant weather-related events, said Melvin Kaku, director of the Department of Emergency Management. A small mudslide also occurred at Kipapa Gulch.

Municipal golf courses except the Kahuku golf course shut down yesterday morning. The Honolulu Zoo was also closed due to flooding.

The National Weather service expects the surf to go down and weather conditions to improve today as the low-pressure system responsible for the wet weather and high surf weakens.

The Honolulu Festival Parade this afternoon will likely be fine, said lead forecaster Norman Hui, but there is still a chance of passing showers.