Tragedy at Pokai Bay: One girl a drowning victim, her sister in serious condition

A Wahiawa girl is dead and her sister is recovering in the hospital after an incident at Pokai Bay Sunday afternoon.

Emergency Medical Services answered calls of what was reported as two near-drownings.

“Around 12 o’clock today we responded a pediatric near drowning. A 9-year-old female was found in the water by bystanders,” Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Shayne Enright said Sunday. “She was found in the water face up, foaming from the mouth, but she did regain consciousness and had a pulse and was breathing by the time she left with EMS.”

Officials say the girl was taken to the hospital in serious but stable condition.

A half-hour later, first responders received a call for another pediatric near drowning. “An 11-year-old female was found submerged under the water in the same area — found by the same bystander I’m told,” Enright said.

Officials say the girl was pronounced dead. The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s office identified her Monday as 11-year-old Gloria Eram.

Authorities determined the girls were sisters.

“Two sisters, one is running to save the other. None of us knew what was going on. Pretty much [the] first girl got brought up, not knowing other girl was drowning in the water. All the attention was focused on the one first girl… Then everybody found the second one,” witness Layne Viernes said.

“What happened here today was extremely tragic and the worse part about it was that it was preventable,” Enright said. “It appears nobody was watching these children and that is the unfortunate part of this whole situation.”

“The dad was nowhere to be found on Father’s Day. Pretty sad to see that,” Viernes said.

“Our condolences go out to the family and we are extremely saddened by this tragedy. But we must ask that you watch your children when you come to the beach. Our lifeguards are doing an excellent job, but there’s only so much they can do,” Enright said.

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