HONOLULU (KHON2) — Tens of thousands of people packed Oahu’s beaches and hiking trails over Memorial Day weekend. It was the first time that they could do so without masks and among family and friends since the start of the pandemic.
Some families that we spoke to say, this was also the first time that they’ve gotten together since the pandemic started. Others said they hadn’t been to the beach in months.
Ocean Safety and the Honolulu Fire Department kept busy and because of those fewer restrictions they expect a very busy summer ahead.
“This is definitely the busiest I’ve seen Ala Moana Beach Park since pre-pandemic,” said Lt. William Ingram, Honolulu Ocean Safety. “The crowds there, and probably close to 20-30 thousand people here.”
“It’s going to be a crazy summer,” he continued. “I just hope we get the man power we need to take care of the crowds.”
Ocean safety says, there were a total of 187 rescues on Oahu since Saturday, including 87 on Monday alone.
An estimated 19,000 preventative actions were also taken this weekend. The Honolulu Fire Department responded to 17 rescue emergency calls over the holiday weekend, which is twice the number they usually respond to in any given week.
Due to an increase in rescues lately, HFD staffed an additional helicopter and manpower for the weekend.
“Having that third helicopter, at least having that ability to staff it in and ramp up and prepare for the long weekends, especially during the summertime is really something that we can provide to the community for support,” said Fire Capt. Malcom Medrano, Honolulu Fire Department.