HONOLULU (KHON2) — Thursday morning Honolulu Ocean Safety responded to two injured visitors at Sharks Cove. Ocean Safety said the call came in at 11:09 a.m., and once they arrived at the location, they found two injured people with one still in the ocean.
According to Ocean Safety, the people had been standing on the rocks when a waved crashed into them, pulling them over the rocky ledge. Ocean Safety said the Honolulu Fire Department and bystanders helped rescue the 36-year-old man out of the water and to the shore.
Honolulu Emergency Medical Services (EMS) said they treated the man with a serious ankle injury and multiple abrasions. They also treated a 33-year-old female who was swept over the rocks and got minor shoulder and knee abrasions.
With tourism picking up, these types of accidents and calls might happen more frequently due to people coming to the island and not understanding the strength and force of the ocean.
Shayne Enright, the spokeswoman for the Honolulu Emergency Services Department, said in general, people who come here aren’t aware of Hawaii’s weather conditions.
“Whether that be high surf, how hot it can get, the humidity, and they come to get off a plane, they’re jetlag, they’re tired,” said Enright. “They’ve been sitting a while, and they want to go snorkeling or they want to go hike up Diamond Head, right? Because we all just want to get going.”
Enright said Sharks Cove is a popular tourist spot to check out. However, it can be very deadly if people are not paying attention. She said thankfully this morning’s incident did not turn deadly, and the people injured were treated immediately.
“Because at one point, it could look flat, and visitors don’t have any idea that within minutes, a huge wave can come out of nowhere,” said Enright. “That’s what happened today, and it just raked them over the rocks.”
Whether it’s hiking or in the ocean, people just don’t know their limits, especially for certain tourists or visitors who have never swam in the ocean before. Enright said they are constantly battling social media expectations on what a Hawaii vacation should be.
“Visitors see a lot of other people doing it, you know, for six months, since they booked their tickets,” said Enright. “They’ve been watching social media, and all these people going out and doing it, and how beautiful it looks. Then the day they go out to do it. It’s very windy, or stormy and surf choppy.”
Enright said in some cases the uncertain weather doesn’t stop some visitors who want to make the most of their trip. That’s when things can get dangerous and sometimes deadly.
Tips for visitors to consider if they do want to partake in water activities:
- Know your physical limitations
- Go to a beach with a lifeguard
- Have the proper swim equipment
- Make sure you are well rested
- Make sure you are hydrated
- Avoid the ocean while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Never turn your back to the ocean
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Enright said if you notice someone in distress, you should notify a lifeguard or immediately call 911 and report your exact location.