Search for second drowning victim to continue Sunday
KALIHIWAI — After spending most of Saturday scouring the coastline for the body of a drowning victim, the Kaua‘i Fire Department will continue its search Sunday.
The Air 1 helicopter searched the coastline of Kaua‘i Saturday, in an effort to recover the body of Brian Baker, who drowned off South Kalihiwai Point Friday evening, according to the county.
Saturday morning, fire personnel located and retrieved the body of Adam Griffiths, the second victim in the double-drowning.
Griffiths, 46 and Baker, 47, both from San Francisco, were exploring the rocky coastal area south of Kalihiwai Bay with three other friends when a wave slammed into Baker and pulled him into the water. Griffiths jumped in to try to save Baker but both drowned in the extremely rough surf, the county says.
After retrieving the first body, Air 1 searched the North Shore coastal area from Kīlauea Lighthouse to Pila‘a Beach, extending roughly a half mile offshore, until about 2 p.m. without success. The search was enhanced earlier in the day by a Jet Ski, however use of the water craft proved ineffective in the choppy waters and was discontinued by late morning, the county says.
Fire personnel will continue to visually monitor the coastline in Kalihiwai until sundown today, and intend to resume the air search Sunday morning.
“We extend our deepest and most heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims,” says Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr., who is currently in Washington, D.C., attending the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors. “This is a terrible tragedy and our entire community mourns with you.”
The mayor thanks rescue personnel from the KFD, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Kaua‘i Police Department and Life’s Bridges Kaua‘i for their efforts to find the victims and support their friends and family: “These tragedies are tough on our emergency responders, but they do what they have to do in order to address the situation in a manner that is safe and with the utmost compassion for the victims.”
Kaua‘i remains in a high surf warning for north and west facing shores through 6 a.m. Sunday. The Fire Department’s Ocean Bureau closed beaches at Ke‘e, Ha‘ena and Pine Trees today, and allowed only limited swimming at Hanalei Pier. The National Weather service advises that anyone entering the waters risks serious injury or death.