Three deaths in less than two years at “Spitting Caves” in East Oahu has one lawmaker calling for the popular cliff-diving spot to be off-limits.
On Saturday, a 21 year man from Washington State drowned in the area, which is not manned by lifeguards.
“We have no knowledge if he jumped,” said Ocean Safety Lt. Charles Olivera. “His friend says he didn’t.”
Olivera says Ocean Safety and the Honolulu Fire Department responded to Saturday’s rescue, and warned of the dangers at the popular Portlock ocean attraction.
“You go down at the rocks there, and there’s a ledge,” said Lt. Olivera. “When the waves come in, and you’re not ready for it, the waves will knock you off the ledge.”
Several memorials do dot the rocks at Spitting Caves.
“It’s inexcusable the way government has handled this very very dangerous and very very beautiful place,” said Representative Gene Ward.
Representative Ward, who represents Hawaii Kai and Kalama Valley, says he wants the city to start fining anyone caught cliff-jumping.
“This was a preventable drowning,” said Rep. Ward. “It was a wasted life. I’m sorry, I feel very strongly about this. For the last 10 months I’ve worked with the city and county, parks and rec, even up to the mayor’s office.”
Ward says he’s trying to get the city to put up “No Jumping” signs.
“Now we have to go out to and get some kind of ordinance passed to do it,” said Rep. Ward. “So we wasted a year and wasted a life. No joke. We wasted a life. It should not have happened.”
KHON reached out to Parks and Recreation, Honolulu City Councilman Trevor Ozawa, and the mayor’s office to check if they are working with Ward on the issue.
Parks and Recreation spokesman Jon Hennington, says the department is looking into the matter.
Francis Choe, senior advisor to Councilman Ozawa, says Ward has not reached out to Ozawa, but they are aware of the issue.
KHON has not yet received a response from the mayor’s office.
“You can’t overly manage people’s behavior, but you can encourage them not to stupid things and we don’t do that,” said Rep. Ward.