KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII (KHON2) — Hawaii County officials are investigating a fatal boating accident that happened Monday evening during a manta ray tour off the coast of Kailua-Kona. The tragedy once again has people calling for stricter guidelines.

The Hawaii County Fire Department Deputy Chief Eric Moller said they received a call about a boating incident off the coast of Kailua-Kona just before 6 p.m. Monday.

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“An individual had fallen from a boat was struck by the boat prop,” Moller explained. “The patient suffered severe lacerations and was being transported back to the dock.”

He said the female patient was taken to Kona Community Hospital in critical condition. The Coast Guard confirmed she did not survive.

Witnesses said the incident happened during a manta ray night dive tour, and that the woman was a member of the crew.

Manta Pacific Research Foundation Co-Founder Keller Laros has been guiding evening manta ray tours since 1985. He said the overcrowding and uptick in tours operating without adequate certification for crews pose serious safety risks.

A safety assessment conducted in 2015 Marine Science Consulting LLC, and paid for by the state, warned of increasing dangers surrounding the tours.

The report summary stated: “Given the large number of vessels and in-water persons participating in this night-time activity, a severe accident will likely occur in the future without significant mitigation of the existing risk factors. The numbers of vessels and persons participating in manta ray viewing activities are major factors increasing the likelihood of an accident, however there are no effective controls regulating capacity.”

Laros said there can be more than 27 boats in one location at a time. That’s means hundreds of people in the water.

“You’re talking about boats driving around with people in the water,” he explained. “It’s inevitable that somebody is gonna get hit. And that happened last night. and I’m heartbroken.”

He wants stricture crew regulations.

“The crews should be trained as lifeguards or rescue divers,” Laros said.

Rep. Nicole Lowen (D) said attempts to limit the number of boats and require special crew certifications have been shot down year after year

“DLNR’s position was always that it was Coast Guard’s responsibility,” said Lowen. “They didn’t want to take on any increased level of regulation for it.”

This isn’t the first time someone was hurt or killed by a boat propeller.

In June 2017, 49-year-old Army Colonel Kirk Slaughter died after a boat rain him over outside Waianae Boat Harbor.

In January 2016, 59-year-old Sri Shim was killed when he was hit by a boat propeller while diving off Lanikai.

And in September 2016, Faith Kalei-Imaizumi was badly injured when she was struck by a propeller during the Pailolo Challenge Outrigger Canoe Race.

Some said a prop guard could help prevent these types of accidents.

“What it does, it protects the blades, from making contact with an object.”

Round, metal prop guards are pretty easy to find at most boat shops, but they won’t prevent someone from being injured if they’re run over by a boat.

“If you can get your hands on one of the plastic versions, they are readily available online,” Maldonado said. “They’re not that expensive, under $200 depending on the size prop that you have. But if you can’t get one of those, the ones like these, the metal ones — anything is better than nothing.”

Lawmakers have tried to require all boats to have prop guards, but those efforts tanked in the legislature.

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An investigation into Monday’s fatal boating incident is ongoing.