Kauai lifeguards rescue
4 at Two Door cave

McKamey and Pico battle huge
swells to save the boaters

LIHUE >> Kauai lifeguards Mark McKamey and Chris Pico battled heavy swells on the Na Pali Coast Memorial Day morning to rescue four people trapped in Two Door Cave, Kauai County spokeswoman Cyndi Ozaki said late yesterday.

The four Kauai residents were venturing into Two Door Cave when the privately owned inflatable boat they were riding capsized, leaving them stranded. They managed to shoot a flare out of the cave, where it was spotted by someone on the Akialoa, a passing tour boat.

McKamey and Pico, stationed at Haena, arrived shortly thereafter on jet ski.

On their first attempt into the cave, the waves were so violent that McKamey and Pico were thrown into the water and separated from their jet ski.

McKamey said he and Pico timed their jet ski entrance into the cave between swells and Pico, the "grabber," was dropped off to stay with the victims.

McKamey had only a few seconds to exit the cave before the next wave crashed in. Those trapped were removed from the cave one-by-one between swells. As each person was rescued from the cave, they were loaded onto a tour boat that had stopped to assist.

Liko Hookano of Liko Kauai Cruises, a former lifeguard of 10 years, said it was the most dramatic rescue he had ever witnessed.

"I saw the expression on (McKamey and Pico's) faces," he said. "It was a scary rescue."


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