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Lifeguards pluck 2 men from dangerous Portlock cove

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 3:16 p.m. HST, Jul 15, 2012

Two men were rescued by Honolulu lifeguards today from the Spitting Cave area near Portlock in Hawaii Kai, a city Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services division official said. 

The call came in around 1:34 p.m., and a lifeguard reached the scene at 1:37 p.m., Capt. Dwight Perkins of the city’s Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division said.

Perkins said two males who appeared to be in their late 20s made the 80-foot jump off a cliff into the into the dangerous Spitting Cave cove, and 4- to 8-foot waves, along with gusty trades, made it difficult for them to return to shore. 

Bystanders threw the men a floatation device but were unsuccessful at pulling them in, Perkins said. 

A jet ski rescue craft unit responded from the Hawaii Kai boat ramp and transported the men back to the boat ramp without injuries.

“It was a good save,” Perkins said. “It could have turned bad very easy.”

Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Operation Chief Jim Howe said there have been many deaths at Spitting Cave over the years because it is in such a rough and remote location. 

Howe or Perkins didn’t have numbers available, but neither could remember a fatality yet this year. 

Howe said it’s tough for lifeguards to rescue distressed swimmers from the 20-foot-wide cove because strong currents often sweep them out to sea before rescue crews arrive. 

“I’m very pleased that our staff was able to do that,” he said. “We were able to get there very quickly and get somebody in the water to kind of keep the (men) from disappearing.”

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