Two swimmers in distress in big waves and strong currents, about 150 yards offshore at Kahe Beach Park, also known as Electric Beach, in Nanakuli, were rescued just after 8 a.m. Thursday morning by Honolulu Ocean Safety officers, the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department and the Honolulu Fire Department announced.
Two off-duty lifeguards on their way to work with their surfboards stopped at the beach to respond — along with an on-duty lifeguard lieutenant on mobile patrol and a Honolulu Fire Department firefighter, who swam out and helped secure the two women in the ocean, away from the waves — acting HFD director Carl Otsuka said.
The lifeguards paddled out with their rescue boards, helped the two women onto the boards and paddled them through surf with 8- to 10-foot faces to get them safely to shore.
The women were said to be visitors, Ocean Safety said, adding that Honolulu EMS also responded and treated the swimmers for lacerations, but they did not go to an emergency room.
In all, twelve firefighters and an Air 1 helicopter responded to the emergency call, Otsuka said.
Kahe Beach Park/Electric Beach, or Electrics, is named for its proximity to the Hawaiian Electric Power Plant on the rocky shoreline, and is promoted on social media sites as a good snorkeling or diving place for viewing tropical fish supposedly drawn to the warm waters of the power plant’s outflow.
There is no lifeguard tower at Kahe Beach Park, but lifeguards patrol the area by jet ski, Ocean Safety spokeswoman Shayne Enright said in a phone call with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
“But more importantly,” Enright said, “the public needs to remember that lifeguards don’t go on duty until 9:00 a.m., so the fact that these two off-duty lifeguards were in the area at the right time and responded made all the difference in the outcome of this case.”
Otsuka reminded the public to know their limitations, and “if the waves are too big, do not go in.”
If you see someone in trouble, call 911, Ocean Safety said.