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2 men safe after sailboat sinks quickly off Kaimana Beach

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City lifeguards helped a man to shore today after he and another were spotted atop a sailboat sinking just off the Outrigger Canoe Club in Waikiki.

The second man rowed ashore — and then disappeared, club members said.

Coast Guard Lt. Leigh Cotterell said pollution investigators inspected the boat before and after it sank and determined it poses no environmental or safety hazard.

He said the case was turned over to the state Department of Natural Resources. 

“This is really a state issue,” Cotterell said. “Whatever the state decides is the best resolution.”

DLNR was unavailable today for comment.

Employees at the Elks Club said the vessel had been left in the same spot, unattended but still afloat, since at least Wednesday.

An Outrigger employee said the two men, presumably operators of the single-masted boat, used a small rowboat to reach shore on Thursday and were seen that night asking people at the club for food and sleeping on the beach.

Leilani Shaw said the men were not seen again by club members or employees until today, when the pair took the rowboat that they left on the beach back to the sailboat and boarded it.

“This whole thing is so fishy,” Shaw said. “It’s like floating fine, floating fine, and they go out to it and boom! It sinks quick.”

Shaw said one of the club’s members paddled out to the boat just after it sank around 10:45 a.m. today to remove some surrounding debris and two 6-gallon fuel tanks, only one of which had fuel.

Debbie Millikan, a Diamond Head resident who watched the boat floating offshore for days, said she is upset that the state would allow the boat to be anchored so close to the reef for so long, especially with fuel tanks on it. 

“We saw it on Friday afternoon at low tide, definitely grounded on the reef,” Millikan said. “The question is, well, why wasn’t it taken off before it sunk? We feel it’s a waste of resources and time and all the rest of it (work) that’s going to go into it now.”

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