comscore Kauai firefighters rescue local kite surfer, who initially refused assistance, from rough waters | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Kauai firefighters rescue local kite surfer, who initially refused assistance, from rough waters

Kauai firefighters rescued a 59-year-old man who was kite surfing off Wailua on Thursday evening.

Shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday, Kapaa firefighters, along with Air 1 and the on-duty battalion chief, responded to a call of a kite surfer in distress in rough waters about 500 yards from the Kauai Shores hotel in Wailua.

Once on scene, Air 1 located the man and attempted to retrieve him from the water, but he refused assistance.

Officials remained on scene as the kite surfer attempted to swim back to shore. As darkness started to set in, and the man began to drift further out to sea, rescuers resumed efforts and called the U.S. Coast Guard to provide additional assistance.

Air 1 refueled and returned to the scene, where they located the kite surfer and used a Billy Pugh net to retrieve him from the water.

At about 7:45 p.m., the man, who is a Wailua resident, was safely airlifted to a nearby landing zone at Lydgate Beach Park. He was in good condition and refused medical treatment.

“We would like to remind all beachgoers to heed ocean safety warnings from first responders and officials,” said Deputy Fire Chief Kilipaki Vaughan in a news release. “We are very grateful to our firefighters, rescue specialists, and partners at the U.S. Coast Guard for their diligence to prevent what could have been a tragedy.”

The rescue happened in the midst of Hawaii Beach Safety Week, in which every county in Hawaii is highlighting various ocean safety messages. Kauai County focused on the dangers of swimming at unguarded beaches earlier this week.

Starting Aug. 1, Kauai’s Ocean Safety Bureau will extend the hours for roving patrol coverage at unguarded beaches on the isle’s north, east and south shores. Hours at lifeguard towers will not change.

Updated information about ocean conditions is available by speaking to a county lifeguard, visiting, or calling the Ocean Safety Bureau at 241-4984.

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