Lifeguard tower falls at Wailua Beach

The lifeguard tower at Wailua Beach was removed from its current site by county workers Thursday night to prevent it from being toppled over by surf and water from the changing mouth of the Wailua River.

As a safety precaution, Kaua’i County Public Works staffers moved the tower to the parking lot by the beach, according to Kalani Vierra, a supervisor with the Kaua’i County Fire Department’s Ocean Safety Bureau.

The towers play a key role in supporting the patrolling of beaches by lifeguards and efforts to prevent drownings, county officials say. The Wailua Bay tower is one of nine lifeguard towers located across the island.

The relocation of Wailua tower was necessary because surf and water from the river had undermined its cement foundation, creating a safety hazard, Vierra said.

Over the last month, the river mouth has moved several hundred yards north form its original location, sending water by the tower, Vierra said.

Kalani said he plans to meet soon with fire chief David Sproat and battalion chief Bob Kaden, who heads the lifeguard division, to discuss the new home for the tower.

The two lifeguards normally assigned to the Wailua Bay tower will work temporarily at a lifeguard tower at Lydgate Park, and will conduct periodic surveillance of Wailua bay and beach, Vierra said.

The two lifeguards will join a third lifeguard already assigned to the Lydgate Park tower.

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