Visitor drowns at Kealia Beach

KEALIA — A female visitor was found floating face down Friday afternoon by lifeguards at Kealia Beach.

The victim was identified as Laurie Reola, 41, from New Hampshire.

Once on the beach, lifeguards and bystanders immediately started to administer CPR to Reola. Firefighters and emergency medical technicians continued life-saving efforts upon their arrival.

Despite efforts by rescue and medical personnel involved in the incident, the victim did not survive.

Reola was pronounced dead at Wilcox Memorial Hospital. She is the 11th drowning victim on Kaua’i this year.

In an unrelated incident, two visitors from Seattle, a father and daughter, were snorkeling in the area fronting the Kuhio Shores resort in Po’ipu late Saturday afternoon when the father began having difficulty breathing.

The daughter, Merilyn Ludwig, approached a nearby surfer, Stephen Farrell, and asked for his help. Farrell quickly retrieved the father, Robert Isaak, 84, and brought him to shore on his surfboard. Farrell was assisted by another surfer, Chris Paulson.

Firefighters and emergency medical technicians performed CPR on the victim and drove him to Wilcox Memorial Hospital where he was in critical condition on Saturday.

Farrell said the rescue began when Ludwig waved her arms to get his attention. He said high-powered binoculars were used to spot what he, his son Robert, and Paulson, thought was a snorkeler moving west with the current.

“At that point, I grabbed a 9-foot, 2-inch longboard, and went after the snorkeler,” said Farrell.

Farrell said that he came up along-side Isaak and tried to get Isaak onto the board in order to perform CPR. However, choppy water conditions prevented that.

Farrell decided that the best thing to do was to take the stricken man back to shore. With Paulson’s help, both surfers were able to fight the current and get Isaak to shore, where paramedics were waiting.

“My son had called 911, and the paramedics took over from there,” said Farrell.

Farrell pointed out that he and Paul-son are avid swimmers and surfers. Farrell also cautioned people to find out about wave conditions and currents before heading into the water.

He thanked Kaua’i Fire Department rescue personnel for responding quickly to the incident.

“They were quite good,” said Farrell.


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