Women comments on Queen’s Bath drowning

A woman who accompanied the man who drowned Tuesday at Queen’s Bath is asking the county to close down access for good.

Seeing that his grandson’s life was in jeopardy, Mr. Engelmore went to his rescue,” said Pam Engstrom, a Princeville resident who was with Engelmore and some of his family members at Queen’s Bath Tuesday morning.

“If kama’ainas want to take responsibility for their own lives at Queen’s Bath, fine. But to willingly subject our visitors to such a place is unforgivable,” she wrote in a letter to The Garden Island.

“It is time we stop killing our visitors,” she said, asking for the natural attraction to be removed from all tourist publications.

The County of Kaua’i holds a pedestrian right-of-way trail near Punahele Road and Kapi’olani Loop, located within the Princeville Resort property.

“When they went to the pool that morning, the ocean was calm. They had been at the pool for an hour or two when the first in a series of large waves nearly swept them all into the ocean.

According to a lifeguard report, the surf was about 6-8 feet in the early morning but rose to about 8-10 feet about the time that Engelmore was pulled into the ocean.

Engelmore and his wife came to Kaua’i to visit one of his daughters who lives here with her husband and two sons. Another daughter, her husband, their children are also visiting.

According to Engstrom, when the set came in at Queen’s Bath, Engelmore tried to save his grandson while the others scrambled to avoid being dashed into the lava rocks surrounding the pool or dragged out into the ocean.

Engstrom said she drove Mrs. Engelmore and two of his daughters to view his body, which had been laid out in the sand near the Hanalei River mouth by a Kaua’i Police Department Officer of the Hanalei substation.

She said Engelmore was left uncovered until American Medical Response personnel moved him across the street to a more private area until the mortuary came to retrieve him, in the view of “families with small children.”

“People who do not live here have no concept of ‘high surf’ or ‘strong currents’ unless or until they experience them,” she continued.

In many ocean rescues, lifeguards often say that people have gone into the ocean despite clearly posted warnings. The same was true for Tuesday’s Queen’s Bath accident. At the trailhead, signs are posted that warn of dangerous currents and high surf.

The ocean safety motto “When in doubt, don’t go out” is also printed on such signs.

Last April the Queen’s Bath trail was closed following a drowning and an accident that caused a man to be paralyzed. But after heated public outcry, the trail was reopened in June. Temporary closures were talked about but not put into effect this winter.

Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at mailto:kmanguchei@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 252).

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