Passersby assist lifeguards in moving injured surfer

When Keola Potts of Kekaha saw the surfer come out of the water at the break known as “Targets” near the Kekaha Landfill and rifle range, something didn’t look right.

The surfer, a resident male in his 30s, had injured his back after getting pounded by a fast-breaking wave.

Potts, a former county seasonal-hire lifeguard, told the man not to move, then quickly went to alert the Kekaha tower lifeguards about the injured surfer.

Lifeguards Alan Yamagata and Gerald Hurd responded to the surfer, who had suspected back or neck injuries. He was placed on a backboard, but the remote site could not be accessed by ambulance or fire emergency-response crews.

Kainoa Driver was there with his four-wheel-drive truck, and brought the victim to an area near the surf break known as Second Ditch where an ambulance was waiting, said Dave Walker, Kauai Fire Department administrative battalion chief.

Waimea station Capt. Dellick Numazawa had high praise for the county-civilian-paramedic teamwork that led to the successful extraction, transport and treatment of the injured surfer, Walker said.

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