Lifeguards do large number of rescues due to summer south shore swell

High surf across the state has turned deadly and the danger is not over yet.

A swimmer on the Big Island died Monday because of the high surf. It happened near Wawaloli Beach Park in Kona.

Fire officials say the man was in the water with a friend, when he got into trouble in the high surf. The man’s friend made it back to shore and called for help.

Then shortly before 6 p.m. Monday rescuers found the man’s body underwater.

57 people had to be rescued from the waters along the south shore of Oahu and lifeguards issued nearly 750 warnings, but those were just Monday’s numbers.

“Yesterday we had 17 rescues and we made more than 600 preventative actions,” said Emergency Medical Services Spokesperson, Shayne Enright.

Eight to 12 foot waves pounded the south shore, calling for officials to add an extra rescue jet ski to patrol the waters.

“We’re out there on the skis telling people hey you should not be out there,” said Enright.

Even experienced surfers were no match for mother nature.

“And it’s experienced surfers who may have broken their board on a wave and just need a little help to get in, to those that just shouldn’t be out there,” said Enright. “So mother nature doesn’t care who you are.”

While some people watched the waves from the shoreline, others braved the dangerous conditions.

“And we’re rescuing those people because they are unable to swim back in and the currents are extremely strong the swell is dangerous,” said Enright.

Lifeguards did a majority of the rescues on the rescue water crafts.

“We had broken boards, leashes and surfers in over their heads,” said Shayne Enright of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department “We strongly caution surfers and others to be extremely cautious during these summer swells.”

The National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory for surf along south facing shores of all Hawaiian Islands through Tuesday afternoon.

This is due to a powerful low pressure system in the South Pacific that generated a large south-southwest swell.

Surf is expected to decrease to six to ten feet Monday night, then to six to eight feet on Tuesday.

The surf also kept lifeguards busy on Sunday. Ocean Safety says Oahu lifeguards rescued 17 people and issued about 600 warnings.

 

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