County worker killed by falling piece of coconut tree

A Kaua’i County worker was killed at the Wailua Golf Course Friday morning when a 20-foot piece of a coconut tree fell on him.

At about 8 a.m. a section of a coconut tree trunk snapped about 20 feet from its top, fell and struck Vicente Tablizo, 61, of Lihu’e, according to a fire department official. Tablizo was reportedly working at the back of the 11th hole of the golf course at the time, picking up leaves scattered by Thursday night’s rainstorm.

The Wailua Golf Course was closed yesterday and will be closed today as a memorial to Tablizo.

Police are investigating the incident. According to KFD Battalion Chief Ernest Moniz, Tablizo died before rescue personnel arrived at the scene. The accident was reported to police dispatchers at 8:08 a.m.

“I am so saddened to hear of this tragic accident, Mr. Tablizo was a good employee and a very hard worker,” said Mayor Maryanne Kusaka. Tablizo went to work for the county as tractor mower operator at the golf course in 1997.

Both Kusaka and mayor-elect Bryan Baptiste delivered the news in person to Tablizo’s widow, Angelina E. Ramos.

“It’s a real freak accident, I’ve never seen anything like that on any golf course – and in Hawai’i we have coconut trees on about every golf course,” said Wallace Rezentes, Kusaka’s administrative assistant, who was at the scene shortly after police and fire personnel responded.

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