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Soldiers swept off rocks identified; Deadly swell starts to decline

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.CM
    Sightseers braved high surf off off of Magic Island Monday morning.
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The medical examiner identified the two Schofield Barracks soldiers who apparently drowned near the Halona Blowhole over the weekend.

An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death of Caleb Collins, 22; and Shyhein Andrews, 21, who were swept into the ocean near Halona Blowhole at about 4:45 p.m. Saturday during rough surf conditions. 

Their bodies were recovered Sunday. 

The men were on the rocks taking pictures at the cove when a wave swept Andrews into the ocean. Collins tried to help and was also swept into the ocean, officials said. 

A third man was also swept into the water, but he was able to climb back out, said Fire Department Battalion Chief Geoff Chang.

Fire rescue divers found Andrews’ body underwater just outside the cove at about 6:45 a.m. Sunday. Collins’ body washed up on a rocky shoreline just east of Halona Blowhole shortly before 7 p.m.

Master Sgt. Mark St. Clair, 25th Infantry Division spokesman, said the three men at the cove were soldiers. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends,” he said. 

The high surf along south shores of all islands is declining, but still dangerous, the National Weather Service said Monday morning.

Forecasters replaced a high surf warning with a high surf advisory.

Surf along south facing shores of 8 to 12 feet is expect to lower to 6 to 10 feet Monday night and 4 to 7 feet on Tuesday.

Surf along west shores of 4 to 7 feet will decline to 3 to 5 feet on Tuesday.

The advisory for south shores of all islands is in effect until 6 a.m. Tuesday.

The high surf  kept lifeguards busy Sunday.

An Ocean Safety spokeswoman said lifeguards made 147 rescues on Oahu by 4:15 p.m. Sunday.

She said lifeguards also took 4,140 preventive measures to warn beachgoers before they got into trouble on south and west shore beaches and at Sandy Beach.

Forecasters warn the high surf will continue to bring strong breaking waves and shore break and create rip currents that can make swimming difficult and dangerous.

“Beach-goers, swimmers and surfers should heed all advice given by Ocean Safety officials and exercise caution. Know your limits. When in doubt, do not go out,” the National Weather Service said in an advisory.

The weather service also issued a special marine weather statement about the high surf Monday, warning mariners that the swell will continue to generate moderate surges and large breaking-waves in south-facing harbors.

Two people were injured late Saturday after a sailboat they were on ran aground near Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, and a private salvage company remove the 31-foot vessel Sunday.

The boat became stuck on a reef at a surf spot called Rockpiles and was getting hit by waves shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday, according to an Emergency Medical Services report.

On Maui, firefighters rescued a 70-year-old fisherman Sunday morning when his 20-foot boat ran into an object and drifted on to the rocks amid high surf near La Perouse Bay.

A rescue crew using a Jetski located the vessel and picked up the fisherman early Friday morning and took him to Kihei boat harbor.

The boater left Kihei boat harbor at 4 a.m. when he ran into an unknown object floating in the water. The accident caused his boat to lose power and drift onto the rocks.

He called for help just before 5 a.m.

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