The tragedy of the missing swimmer in Kailua has some saying Kailua Bay should have more lifeguards

Local News

The body of a man believed to be the missing swimmer off Kailua was found early Sunday.

Officials said it matches the description of the 21-year-old man missing since Friday.The fire department said a passerby found the body on shore at Castles Beach, on the Aikahi side of Kailua Bay, just after 5 a.m.

It was roughly a mile down the beach from where the man was last spotted Friday, around 5:30 P.M.

The tragedy has many asking whether there should be more lifeguards posted along Kailua Bay.

The 21-year-old male and two female friends ran into trouble fronting Dune Circle next to Kalama Beach.

The women were rescued by a good samaritan but the male went under, and despite rigorous efforts,  was not found until this early Sunday morning.

Jacob Irvine grew up in Kailua and surfs along Kailua Bay several times a week. He says that it can get dangerous.

“No matter how big or small you are, the ocean is always going to be bigger and stronger than you. I’ve run into trouble a couple times. When I was seven, I got sucked out and I almost didn’t make it back. It was kind of crazy, but you gotta know it’s the ocean,” Irivne said.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of fatal injuries in Hawaii for non-residents according to studies by the Hawaii Department of Health.

Those same studies showed victims are more likely to survive if lifeguards are present.

Castles Beach along Kailua Bay where the body was found is roughly two miles away from the nearest lifeguard post.

“That’s pretty far. We are pretty far from the nearest lifeguard stand…I really think they should have lifeguard stands especially on these exits,” Shannon Baker said. Baker visits Castles Beach on most weekends with his family. He said he has seen more and more tourists in the area and has even had to help a few times when they get into trouble.

Paige Price recently moved to Hawaii and is visiting Castles Beach for the first time. 

“I didn’t realize there wasn’t one on-duty here but I’m with my boyfriend. He is learning how to surf. I’m sure people are in the water a lot and they might need help,” Price said.

The state does have a website to encourage beach safety, but those who frequent Castles Beach think more signage would be helpful.

“Maybe just more informational signs about rip currents and how to be aware of it and what to do in those situations that would probably be good for the visitors who don’t know exactly how the ocean works,” Irvine said.

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