A13-year-old boy is dead after a tragic scuba diving accident in waters off Maunalua Bay in Hawaii Kai. The call came in at 11:12 a.m. and he was found, unconscious, underwater about 20 minutes later.
The boy and his family are visitors staying in Waikiki. The Island Divers Hawaii scuba diving tour they were on departed from Hawaii Kai Shopping Center just after 9a.m., according to witnesses. The boy ran into trouble roughly two hours later.
What was supposed to be a fun-filled day, exploring the ocean, ended in tragedy.
A 13-year-old boy’s lifeless body was pulled from waters 60 feet deep, roughly one mile offshore of Maunalua Bay.
“The patient was recovered unconscious and not breathing, and we performed CPR as soon as we got him ashore…it was a scuba diving accident,” said Honolulu Fire Department Battalion Chief Paul Kato.
The boy was rushed to Queens Hospital in critical condition where he was pronounced dead.
His parents were brought to shore by the tour boat then taken separately to the hospital.
Those on board were completely distraught
Gilian Bergerom, was one of more than 20 people who were part of the same diving tour.
“I think everyone is probably been in a little bit of shock and disbelief, and it feels like nightmare everyone’s just waiting to wake up from,” said Bergerom.
Another witness said she was a part of the same group as the young boy. She said he had a panic attack under water and got separated from their group. She said the current was very strong and the water was extremely murky.
Bergerom also said the water was very dirty.
“I was told you can usually see about 100 feet out. It was more like 10 or 15. Our dive instructor even said it was the worst he’d maybe ever seen it the 20 years he’d been diving here. So it was an unusually bad day out there,” explained Bergerom.
HPD detectives were on scene and the diving gear the boy had used was taken in as evidence.
Witnesses said things could have been handled differently.
“It was just chaotic,” explained a woman who was a member of the tour. “All the crew were back in the water, but it didn’t seem like there was a plan… i just feel like there could have been a better plan to do the search and rescue and to call the Coast Guard immediately.”
Those who were on the boat said the boy was missing for more than eight minutes before the crew called for help.
“It probably needed to happen a lot faster in my opinion,” Bergerom said.
“I think all of us are just thinking about this family. That might be leaving Hawaii without their son.”
KHON contacted Island Divers Hawaii. They declined to comment.