Kauai Fire Department personnel aided two swimmers and an injured hiker in separate incidents on the north shore Thursday.
The first incident occurred about 2:30 p.m. at Larsen’s Beach where two males were swept out to sea.
A 63-year-old man from Long Beach, Calif. had been snorkeling in the channel when he was pulled outside the reef by the strong current, Kauai officials said in a news release. His 16-year-old son then grabbed a rescue tube that was posted on the beach and swam out to his father.
Firefighters found the two hanging onto the rescue tube about 300 yards west of the channel. Two firefighters attempted a rescue, but the current was too strong for them to reach the distressed swimmers.
Eventually, the current carried the swimmers over the reef to calmer waters near the end of the beach. From there, they made it to shore and were met by fire personnel and a paramedic team.
Initially, the two men declined medical attention. However, an assessment by the first responders revealed that the father had inhaled a large amount of salt water, making his breathing difficult, so he was taken to Wilcox Hospital for treatment.
The two firefighters who attempted the rescue were brought to shore on a jet ski that was manned by lifeguards from Tower 1.
While the rescue was in progress at Larsen’s Beach, the department’s helicopter flew to Hanakapiai to airlift a hiker with an ankle injury.
Firefighters carried the 36-year-old Medford, Ore. woman from the trail to the helicopter. From there, they flew to Princeville Airport and an ambulance then transported her to Wilcox Hospital.