Local woman drowns off Hanakapiai

HANAKAPIAI — The body of a Hanamaulu woman was recovered Saturday afternoon from waters off Hanakapiai Beach on Kauai’s North Shore.

Police have identified her as 53-year-old Janet Ballesteros.

At approximately 11:30 a.m., a State Parks ranger notified emergency personnel of a female swimmer in distress. Hanalei firefighters, North District lifeguards on jet skis, Rescue 3 aboard Air 1, and Coast Guard personnel responded to the scene.

Lifeguards eventually located the woman’s unresponsive body in a nearby cave but high surf and dangerous ocean conditions made it difficult to reach her. After several attempts, lifeguards were able to bring the victim out of the cave and transferred her to Air 1. Rescue 3 aboard Air 1 then transported her to the Ke‘e Beach landing zone. Police then worked to identify the woman and notify her family.

A high surf warning went into effect from 6 p.m. Sunday until 6 p.m. today. During the warning, beachgoers are urged to visit lifeguarded beaches on the east- or south-facing shores, such as Lydgate, Poipiu or Salt Pond beach parks.

Ocean advisories can be modified or extended as conditions develop.

For updated information, speak to a county lifeguard or visit www.weather.gov/hawaii.

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