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Woman swept away during Kauai kayak tour was California visitor

A 32-year-old woman who died while on a kayak tour on Wailua River Saturday has been identified as Aimee Abrahim of El Cajon, Calif.

The Kauai Fire Department located Abrahim’s body Sunday after she was swept out to the ocean while crossing a stream.

An autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death.

A flash flood watch was in effect for all islands Saturday when the five-hour tour started at 1 p.m. Stream gauges showed significant rises and rainfall intensified, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a flash food warning for Kauai at 4 p.m., according to hydrologist Kevin Kodama of the National Weather Service.

“We’re all devastated,” said, Pete Fisher, owner and operator of the Kayak Wailua tour company. Fisher said the tour was about three-quarters finished when the weather dramatically changed.

At about 5 p.m., Abrahim and her sister were crossing a shallow stream while holding a rope to get to the other side to return to the kayak. Fisher said there was rapid streamwater near Uluwehi Falls and Abrahim and her sister lost their grip and were swept away.

Abrahim’s sister swam to shore. The Kauai Fire Department initiated a search for Abrahim and deployed its Air 1 helicopter to airlift seven other visitors and a guide to Wailua Homesteads.

The search was suspended Saturday due to nightfall and dangerous flood conditions. Firefighters resumed the search at 7:30 a.m. Sunday and located Abrahim’s body shortly after.

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      • Except that the family that operates the business has lived in Wailua for the past 42 years. They were however, the subject of another suit resulting from a fatality in 2011.

        • Many of the local tour companies, land and sea, push the weather minimums. Surprise! Surprise!

        • It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t raining down where they were at, it could be raining up in the mountains where the water will come from. If there was a flash flood watch, as a responsible tour operator, he should have cancelled the tour. This is a link to info on the previous lawsuit in 2011. Once is enough, but being the potential cause of a fatality twice???
          http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/08/26/39299.htm

  • To run a business in the ocean , streams or the skies of Hawaii puts you at the mercy of the booking desks , they get mad and refuse to send you more customers when the desk loses their commissions because the operator cancels and then the surf , lightning or flood doesn’t come. However it is imperative , you still have to know when to say “no”. And if you can’t stand the heat you don’t belong in the business. So you or some timeshare vulture doesn’t make a buck that day , so what ? How do you feel about it now , worth the bucks ?

    The flash flood warnings have been on and off for a week , the story made it sound like they weren’t posted until after the tour left , just not so , they were up days before , that early morning and pretty much state wide. On and off for days.
    Even when not “flashing” the water was high.

    The company blew it simple and clear. That whole area where they tour is fead by the wettest spot in the world , when you lose your respect for that , someone dies. And it isn’t the owner sitting in his counting room .

    • What a shame. The owner here is not a bad person , that is my point , he is the cream of the crop so to speak , one of the best operators , he knows how to keep the bookings happening and show folks a good time , and got caught.
      When he says they are devastated , I believe him. I’ve seen it happen to boat companies and the operators were never the same. Not to sound trite , but loosing a customer kinda takes the fun out of it. I feel for everybody involved.

  • How about adding a little more safety in the crossing. Make sure the cross rope is super strong and when people cross it, they have mini harness that they clip to the cross rope when they walk across and then unclip when the exit the stream That way if they fall or a swept off their feet, they are still attached by their own safety rope to the cross rope.

    • Inverse, yes that is just good common safety sense. Too bad no one in the tour company thought of it. It pays to be safe… loss of life and a huge lawsuit is only good for the attorneys

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