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Lifeguards release photos of men nearly swept into ocean

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 6:13 p.m. HST, May 19, 2013

Lifeguards are reminding beach-goers to listen to ocean safety officials and to be aware of waves that can wash people into the ocean after two incidents Saturday during the current south swell.

Five men standing on a ledge near the Halona Blow Hole Saturday evening ignored repeated requests by city lifeguards to get move to safety, and one was nearly swept away by a large wave, a Department of Emergency Services spokeswoman said today.

Officials said lifeguards responded to the scene around 6:15 p.m. after they saw a swell crash near the men. All five men were found alive and climbing up the rocks when lifeguards arrived, said Shayne Enright, spokeswoman for the city Department of Emergency Services.

Lifeguards also assisted in rescuing a group of people at China Walls on Saturday, Enright said. The group was helped in by a good Samaritan along with Ocean Safety's rescue watercraft.

The Ocean Safety Division released a series of photos that appears to show the men dangerously close to the blow hole and the aftermath of a wave that nearly washed them off the ledge.

In total Saturday, Ocean Safety officials made 27 rescues and 74 assists on the South Shores of Oahu, 13 rescues and five assists at Sandy Beach, and a department watercraft patrolling Portlock and China Walls Areas rescued 22 swimmers and made 18 assists.

Enright said the department is asking the public to listen to lifeguards when asking beachgoers to move to a safer area.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has extended its high surf advisory for the south shores of all Hawaiian Islands through 6 p.m. Monday.

Surf has been from 6 to 10 feet in height on south shores and is expected to decrease from 5 to 8 feet Monday, according to the advisory. A series of south swells is keeping surf high and has created strong currents, making swimming difficult and dangerous.

The weather service said the public should exercise more than ordinary caution and follow the advice of ocean safety officials.

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