Multiple agencies resumed search operations Sunday for a 25-year-old man from New Jersey who was swept out to sea Saturday, March 5th, 2022 in waters off Lumahai Beach on the North Shore, reports the County of Kauai. The Kauai Police Department has identified the man as Matthew Preziose (photo below).
According to a preliminary report, rescuers were dispatched shortly after 1 p.m., when two swimmers were in distress in waters off Lumahai Beach, near Lumahai River.
Lifeguards with the North Roving Patrol Unit were first on scene, where bystanders reported that one swimmer made it safely to shore while the second swimmer, Preziose, was last seen being swept out to sea.
Hanalei firefighters, Rescue 3 aboard Air 1, East Roving Patrol lifeguards on Jet Ski, and the on-duty Battalion Chief also responded to the scene and began an extensive search for the missing man – focusing from the reefs off Hāena point to Hanalei Bay, with an emphasis on the Lumahai Beach area.
Officials from the U.S. Coast Guard also joined the search, utilizing their water and air assets. Due to darkness, firefighters and lifeguards suspended their search Saturday evening at approximately 6 p.m. U.S. Coast Guard personnel continued to search through the night, with no sign of the missing swimmer.
The search was resumed Sunday morning with lifeguards and firefighters on Jet Ski, Rescue 3 aboard Air 1, Jet Ski assets from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), along with air and water assets from the U.S. Coast Guard. Shoreline searches are also being conducted Sunday by the Kauai Police Department and DLNR.
Preziose is 5 feet, 11 inches tall and was last seen wearing blue swim shorts. Anyone with information about the missing swimmer is urged to call KPD Dispatch at 241-1711.
Lumahai Beach is a popular but potentially dangerous beach that has prompted some local residents to call the beach Luma-die due to the many deaths. Powerful waves can crash on the abruptly-sloping beach, especially during the winter months. The mouth of the Lumahai River at the beach, a popular hangout, is especially dangerous and the current can quickly sweep individuals out to sea. Several people have drowned near the mouth, including ABC News doctor Jamie Zimmerman in 2015. The wide beach is best experienced on the sand and not in the water.