First responders conducted multiple rescues on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022 in the North Shore and Kōkee areas, reports the County of Kauai.
Firefighters were notified of the first report of an injured 30-year-old female near Kalalau Beach. Personnel with the Hanalei fire station, Rescue 3, Air 1, and American Medical Response responded to the incident. According to a preliminary report, first responders received a call at approximately 10:40 a.m. of a 30-year-old female with a back injury at Kalalau Beach. First responders arrived on scene at 11:15 a.m., loaded the hiker upon Air 1, and transported her to awaiting firefighters and AMR personnel at a landing zone at Princeville Airport. AMR personnel continued treatment on the hiker before transporting her to a local hospital.
First responders responded to the second incident at approximately 12:50 p.m. involving a distressed swimmer at Larson’s Beach in Moloa’a. Personnel with the Hanalei and Kaiakea fire stations, Ocean Safety Bureau North Roving Ski Patrol, Rescue 3, and Air 1 responded to the incident. According to a preliminary report, first responders arrived on scene at 1:10 p.m. and located the female swimmer who made it on the beach with the assistance of another person. The female visitor from Massachusetts declined medical treatment.
The third rescue involved a Minnesota visitor near Waipoo Falls in Kōke‘e. According to a preliminary report, at approximately 1:50 p.m., first responders received a report of a 69-year-old hiker in distress near Waipo’o Falls in Kōkee. The Waimea fire station, Rescue 3, Air 1, and American Medical Response responded to the incident. First responders arrived on scene at approximately 2 p.m. and located the hiker – who appeared dehydrated and displayed early signs of heatstroke – near Waipo’o Falls. First responders short-hauled her utilizing Air 1 and transported the hiker to a landing zone to awaiting first responders and AMR personnel. AMR personnel continued medical treatment on the hiker before transporting her to the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital emergency room.
PHOTO: A makeshift sign at the entrance to Larson’s Beach warns “NO SAFE SWIMMING – DEADLY UNSEEN CURRENTS HAVE KILLED…”
At least two of the incidents could have easily been prevented. Individuals should never go in the water at Larson’s Beach. This advice is true for many Kauai beaches. Individuals are urged to research beaches on Kauai before visiting. Some Kauai beaches, such as Larson’s Beach, have powerful waves near unprotected shores. (Larson’s Beach also does not have a lifeguard station.) The incident near Waipoo Falls could have easily been prevented with proper hydration.
The multiple rescues occurred the day before a SF Gate article that reported on the large number of rescues conducted by the Kauai Fire Department. “This year, there have already been 13 rescues, including nine that required Air 1, the Kauai Fire Department’s helicopter. Last year, there were 125 land rescues, including 63 by air,” reports SF Gate in the article Why so many hikers on this Hawaii island require rescue.
For more information about hiking safely on Kauai see the recently-released Hiking Kauai Safely video by the Kauai Fire Department.