Tragedy unfolded near the Hawaii Kai boat ramp last night as a missing water-craft rider turned up dead after hours of searching. His mother and a sister-in-law, above, were on the scene last night as officials continued to look for a female rider who was still missing. The Jet Ski, right, was recovered from Maunalua Bay waters.

Man’s body found,
woman rescued
off Hawaii Kai

They were jet skiing in the
marina illegally and asked to leave

By Nelson Daranciang

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter lifted a 30-year-old woman out of the water in Maunalua Bay last night, seven and a half hours after she and a companion were asked to leave the Hawaii Kai Marina for operating a Jet Ski in the private waterway illegally.

Fire rescue crews pulled the body of her companion, a 31-year-old Salt Lake man, from waters a mile to 1.5 miles off the bay earlier in the evening. The man, identified by his cousin as Sun Ho Ham, was a student. The Coast Guard found his body about 7:30 p.m.

The woman, believed to be a visitor from New York, this morning improved to guarded condition at Queen's Medical Center. Her name was not released.

Beverly Liddle, Hawaii Kai Marina Manager, said the two were asked to leave about 4:15 p.m. The women was operating the Jet Ski erratically and the two did not have a permit to operate a vessel in the marina, Liddle said.

The two were riding a Jet Ski, which is considered a thrill craft and not allowed in the marina, Liddle said.

The Jet Ski was recovered from Maunalua Bay waters.

The search for the two began after a parasailer discovered the couple's unmanned Jet Ski with a cell phone and glasses about 5:47 p.m. and notified the fire department, according to fire Capt. Richard Soo.

After the man's body was recovered, the Honolulu Fire Department suspended its search for the woman at 8:10 p.m. due to darkness. The Coast Guard continued to search for her with its helicopter, a 110-foot patrol boat and a 23-foot safe boat.

The fire department resumed its search after fishermen called to report hearing whistles just outside Hanauma Bay, Soo said. Derek Lau, who was fishing with two friends near Paioluolo Point just outside Hanauma Bay, said heard the whistles about 10:40 p.m. He said he called 9-1-1 about 11 p.m. when he said the whistles became "super strong."

Firefighters from the Hawaii Kai Fire Station went to the cliffs on Portlock Peninsula near a spot known as "spitting cave" and spotted the woman at 11:41 p.m., said Capt. Robert Thomas, Quint 34 Commander.

"She was about 20 feet off shore and was drifting toward us," Thomas said.

When the helicopter took the woman to shore, she was wearing life jacket and a whistle around her wrist. She was taken to Queen's in serious condition. "She was white all over. She was like a white prune," Soo said.

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