First responders conducted multiple rescues on Kauai’s North Shore this weekend, saving both Hawaii residents and visitors.
At approximately 3:15 p.m. Saturday, firefighters were notified of a 17-year-old male and two 16-year-old female residents in distress at Queen’s Bath in Kilauea. The Kauai Fire Department in October had locked the access gate to Queen’s Bath due to hazardous ocean conditions and winter swells.
The gate is expected to remain locked through spring or until deemed safe, according to a news release.
First responders arrived on scene at 3:20 p.m. and found the teenagers near an area known as “the Horseshoe” at Queen’s Bath. After multiple attempts to verbally guide them to to a safer location for rescue, responders decided it was too dangerous and called for air support. Personnel with the Hanalei Fire Station, North Shore Roving Ski Patrol, helicopters Rescue 3 and Air 1, and American Medical Response responded.
Two of the teens were able to swim to and climb aboard an island structure in the middle of the horseshoe. Rescuers told them to remain there until first responders could safely rescue them, while the third swimmer stayed in place until a helicopter arrived.
Hanalei firefighters and helicopters rescued the three swimmers with Billy Pugh Nets and transported them to a landing zone at the Princeville Golf course. All three suffered multiple lacerations, with one experiencing mouth injuries in the hazardous ocean conditions. AMR personnel treated them on the scene before transporting all three to a local hospital.
“Many people continue to bypass the gate (at Queen’s Bath),” Kauai Fire Department Deputy Chief Michael Gibson said in a news release. “We urge the public that entry in these hazardous conditions can result in injuries or drownings and puts the lives of the public and our first responders at risk.”
As firefighters were clearing the scene, they were called to respond to another incident at approximately 4:30 p.m. involving a 45-year-old male visitor from Austria who had a knee injury and could not hike out of the Kalalau Trail. Personnel with the Hanalei Fire Station, Rescue 3, and Air 1 responded to that incident at approximately 5:30 p.m.
KFD airlifted the man and his wife to a landing zone at the Princeville Airport where he declined further treatment. One rescuer stayed at Kalalau to make room for the man’s wife before being retrieved by Air 1, clearing the scene at approximately 6:30 p.m.
The National Weather Service this afternoon issued a High Surf Advisory Warning in effect until Monday morning with surf heights along north-facing shores of Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai and Maui expected to range from 18 to 22 feet tonight and west-facing shores expected to range from 10 to 15 feet.