A 68-year-old California man died at Queen’s Bath in Princeville about 11 a.m. Tuesday after being pulled out into the ocean by a large wave.
Robert Engelmore, of Menlo Park, Calif., was at Queen’s Bath with about eight other people when an 8- to 10-foot wave pulled him into the ocean, according to a county lifeguard report. No one else in the group was swept out into the ocean, although others were treated by AMR personnel for abrasions.
Kaua’i Fire Department Ocean Safety Bureau lifeguards aboard jet skis out of Hanalei retrieved the man, who was found about 100 yards off shore of the rock ledge at Queen’s Bath. He was taken back to shore and pronounced dead. An autopsy is scheduled to determine the cause of death.
North Shore surf was 6-8 feet at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning and was on the rise all afternoon until reaching a high of about 8-12 feet, according to Ocean Safety Bureau supervisor Kalani Vierra.
The victim may have been staying with family, as his daughter lives on Kaua’i, according to a county spokeswoman. An investigation into the incident has been opened.
Vierra said rocky sea cliff area in and around Queen’s Bath can be dangerous when large surf breaks on the North Shore, which usually occurs from October through April. Warning signs are posted along the trailhead to the Queen’s Bath, which is located within the Princeville Resort. The signs warn hikers about ocean conditions, which in the area include high surf and strong currents.
The possible drowning incident is the first accident reported this year at Queen’s Bath. In the winter of 2001, Mayor Kusaka closed access to the trail following a drowning, a serious ocean pool diving accident and many near-drownings in the area. In the summer of 2002 the trail was reopened at the request of community members. So far, no decision has been made on reclosing the trails.