WAILUA FALLS – A 22-year-old man from California who fell 80 feet from the top
of Wailua Falls yesterday afternoon is in stable condition at Wilcox
The victim, whose name has not been released by police, is the
third man to fall from the falls within a 24-hour period.
afternoon, two men, also 22 and from California, purposely jumped off the
falls, which resulted in leg injuries.
Eyewitnesses said the victim from
yesterday’s accident appeared to have head and shoulder injuries, but one
fireman said there were no bones broken.
Authorities would not say if the
three Californians knew each other. The fall yesterday does not appear to be a
copycat jump of Monday’s occurence.
In fact, eyewitnesses from the falls
overlook, some 50 feet away, said that the man’s fall was entirely accidental.
The man was with three others on the top of the falls when he tried to
jump across one of the channels in the river but lost his footing and
disappeared into the cascading water below, said Elizabeth and Jesse Creencia,
visitors from Auburn, Calif.
The man, holding a can of soda, had been
“goofing off” just before the accident, eyewitnesses said.
The three other
people vacated the scene, they said, possibly to go for help.
The man soon
emerged in the pool below, and slowly swam to the water’s edge said Bob and
Beth Cusick, visitors from New Jersey, N.J., who also saw the accident from the
overlook. He was whipping blood from his eye and holding his right shoulder,
said Beth Cusick, but was able to walk around the lower pool. The Cusicks added
that the shirt the man had been wearing had been ripped off in the
Inter-Island Helicopters assisted in the rescue by airlifting the man
from the river valley. As he was being carried out, he gave a ‘shaka’ sign to
the crowd gathered at the outlook to show he was OK. The two men from the
earlier jump are in stable condition at Wilcox.
According to the book,
Ultimate Kaua’i Guidebook, men jumped off the falls in ancient (and sometimes
modern) times to prove their manhood. The jump, the book says, often proved to
Local residents at the overlook said that even though there are
warning signs posted, something more needs to be done to prevent accidents like
this from happening.
“How many people have to die before they put a fence
up there?” said Po’ipu resident Sarah Fields who often goes to the falls
overlook to eat lunch.
“It’s ridiculous. Signs are there saying people
have died and that hasn’t stopped them from going up there.”