County wants Wailua Falls jumpers to pay rescue costs

LIHU’E – Kaua’i County will pursue legal action to recover the cost of rescuing three men who plunged from Wailua Falls -two of them purposefully- on June 27 and June 28.

In addition, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement has cited the three men for being in a closed area regulated by the state.

Cited were Wesley Adams and Sean Deans, both 22 and from Temecula, Ca., who were in the falls area on June 27.

Also cited was Manuel Rosa, 22, of Koloa, who fell from the falls on June 28.

If they are found guilty on petty misdemeanor charges, they would be subject to fines of not more than $500 or imprisonment of not more than 30 days or both, according Mac Andrade, who heads the state DNLR Division of Conservation and Resources Division on Kaua’i.

The matter will be handled in District Court on Kaua’i.

Mayor Maryanne Kusaka said the actions of the men were reckless.

“Such blatant disregard for their personal safety and the safety of our rescue crews should not and will not be tolerated,” she said.

In the June 26 incident, Adams and Deans purposely jumped off the 80-foot Wailua Falls. resulting in leg injuries.

On June 27, Rosa, apparently lost his footing and fell 80 feet from the falls.

Witnesses said the man’s fall was accidental. It was erroneously reported earlier that the third victim (Rosa) was from California.

Rosa appeared to have suffered head and shoulder injuries, according to witnesses. The county has estimated the cost of the two rescue operations at about $1,500 each, Kusaka said in a news release.

This means the two Californians who jumped deliberately will be able to split the cost, while the Koloa man who slipped will have to pay the full $1,500 by himself.

The County Attorney’s Office will send a written, itemized bill to each of the three men, which is to be paid within 30 days of the receipt of the claim, Kusaka said.

If payment is not received in 30 days, the county will pursue civil action. Attempts to reach the men at the hospital for comment were unsuccessful. A county law, Kusaka said, authorizes the county to recover all expenses related to rescue operations when a person is placed in peril due to gross negligence.

Gross negligence, she said, is defined by the law as “conduct that is either intentional or committed under circumstances exhibiting reckless disregard for the safety of oneself or others.” The law, she said, also provides for the county to recover all legal expenses it incurs as the result of a rescue, including legal efforts to recover rescue costs.

The two California men were listed in stable condition at Wilcox Hospital when they were brought to the hospital on Tuesday. Rosa also was transported to the hospital for treatment.

It is not known if all three men remain at the hospital for continued treatment.

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