*Update* Hapuna Beach Drowning… What Really Happened?

The other day I posted the police report from the Hapuna Beach drowning that happened the other day.

The comments that have followed have just amazed me and only made me wonder… what really happened on that fateful day?

I’m not going to speculate… I’ll just repost some of those comments here:

10 11 Responses to “17 Year Old Exchange Student Drowns at Hapuna Today”

  1. This is so sad. I know it can be really dangerous this time of year. Any news on how it happened?
    We were at the beach last week and it was really calm.

  2. What sad news. It seems odd that this happened at Hapuna…two or more lifeguards are usually watching the beach at that time of the day. Lots of people in the water to notice or help a distressed swimmer. There was surf but nothing very large.

    This State Park is in a shameful state of disrepair including terrible bathrooms, a picnic area damaged from rains in 2004 still unrepaired, broken pavement among other problems. I have never noticed the lifeguard staff at the beach beyond the fact that they sit in the towers. I hope there will be an investigation into the drowning — what can be done to prevent this, what proactive measures to keep people safer at this beach.

  3. I don’t know why they say the lifeguards retrieved the body. My son was trying to help a bunch of the students who were in trouble. He brought one student to shore and in the process and almost drowned himself. He went back out there and found the boy who had drowned and brought him in himself. He said he didn’t know what the life guards were doing as at first they didn’t seem to notice what was going on.

  4. I agree with Jennifer’s comments- I was there with my wife, we were on a vacation and wanted see some of the local spots. We arrived at the beach to see a group of about 15 students franticaly looking for someone. The lifeguards didn’t seem to engage initially and it was one of the group that pulled the boy out. I was filming this with my camcorder. I stopped when it became apparent the boy was’nt responding to the life guards efforts. The surf didn’t seem that heavy, but we still must respect her power.

  5. I was there to witness how it happened and I feel sorry for the kid and his parents.

  6. We were there as well. We witnessed the lifeguards save several of the students about 20 minutes or so before the body of the 17 year old was retrieved from the surf. Lifeguards did not retrieve the body but they sure as heck tried very hard to save the life of that boy. Shame on the person with the camcorder. My wife and I sat there and watched you video tape the boy as he was pulled lifeless from the waters. I’m glad you stopped but I could not understand what possessed you to begin taping. I think the boys, the group that organized the event were unprepared. While it wasn’t the roughest surf, it is relative to the experience that one possesses. Let’s hope we all learn from this tragedy.

  7. Mahalo Kim

    I’m there supervisor at Hapuna and I know for a fact that they rescued at least 8 of those kids.

    They are suppose to be supervised by there escorts. What they were doing with 20 plus kids that can barely swim at the beach voted most dangerous in Hawaii I will never know.

    Jennifer If you and your son think you can do a better job than you should apply. I have been Involved in 4 cpr cases at Hapuna and only 1 survived. We can’t save everyone. We have about 500,000 people a year at that beach and this was the first death in 2 years.

    I know that I made 7-8 rescues on Saturday.

  8. We were at Hapuna and witnessed the event as well. As we were walking at that end of the beach, we noticed there was a large group of Japanese kids looking out towards the water trying to locate someone or something. We saw three lifeguards run into the water with their rescue gear. Then, we saw a young man bringing a Japanese boy out of the water. The lifeguards engaged in all aspects of rescue and seemed to do everything they could to help. It’s hard to say how long this boy may have been out in the water, or what his swimming experience was, or if there was proper supervision within the group. There were signs posted all over warning about the conditions on the beach. . My heart goes out to the family of the boy, as well as his friends who were there at the beach with him. A very sad outcome indeed.

  9. j nixon – Don’t construe Ms. Wohl’s comments to arrive at your ignorant comment that she and her son should apply for your jobs. Try reading it again (the lifeguards didn’t retrieve the student), then try a little compassion. You’re not the only ones who lost one on Sunday. Sorry to all of us at a loss.

  10. Her statement is false or there escorts are lying. The escorts told me that one of there escorts bumped in to him and was assisted by the lifeguards getting him out.

    There is a good chance that he was knocked out by a set wave prior to going under. His friend told me that he was next to him swimming until a wave it him and he didn’t see him again.

  11. Colleen, on February 11th, 2009 at 11:41 am I would just like to clarify again that the police report is wrong!! He was not retrieved by lifeguards and CPR was preformed by a registered nurse who responded before they did!
    I am sure that the lifeguards were the ones who gave the false information to the police, (that is how they made their report) obviously.. because if they had told the truth it would make them look very irresponsible & incompetent. Their job is to save lives, they get paid to be watchful & ready to rescue at ALL TIMES! True, they can’t save everyone but if they were paying more attention they would have noticed the boy being pulled to shore by someone, other than a lifeguard and they would have ran over to him immediately, before a registered nurse starting giving CPR! Even better still, perhaps if they were scanning the waters with binoculars prior to him being pulled ashore, they would have noticed him being pounded by a wave, then never reappearing. He must have been in that water for at least 10 minutes before he was pulled out.

24 Responses

  1. I was at Hapuna beach on Dec 29th. I almost drowned. I and my wife yelled for help, signalled the life-guards but they did not respond. Fortunately there were two swimmers near by who pulled me out. The 10 minute drama left me thinking if the Lifeguards are worth it? I will not go to this beach again and wont rely on any life guards on helping out in case the worst were to happen.

  2. “i think that an MD should certainly have priority over a lifeguard in a situation like this”

    Steve- as much as this is perhaps a side issue, your assertion is far from a given. Going to medical school does not rate someone more appropriate for ocean rescue. That’s a flawed assumption.

  3. my wife was at hapuna that day….she said that a doctor tried to assist the lifeguards but was refused.
    this doesnt seem right. i think that an MD should certainly have priority over a lifeguard in a situation like this…..however i guess it depends on what kind of doctor he is. he must have felt qualified to assist or he wouldnt have offered his services.

  4. Heartbreak & tragedy sometimes spawns amazing people. John Walsh, after his son’s death, became a crime fighting icon. Rise up, everyone break the drowning chain. You r a school, everyone should learn to swim, teach water safety or have a water safety organization teach u or for u. Schools, lifeguards, parents restrict access to hazardous areas/conditions. Schools & lifeguards b more vigilant, provide better supervision, better surveillance. Everyone should know rescue breathing/cpr/first aid…volunteer for Red Cross, teach in schools. Don’t let this death b in vain.

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