1 hurt after waves crash into Queen’s Bath

PRINCEVILLE — One person was airlifted out of the Queen’s Bath area Monday and taken to Wilcox Medical Center to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.

There were high-surf conditions at the time of the 1 p.m. incident, said Sarah Blane, county spokeswoman.

“Once again helicopters, Jet Skis and more were involved in a rescue that took place right in front of where signs were posted warning people,” said Andy Melamed, marketing director for the Kauai Lifeguard Association.

A witness said several people were in Queen’s Bath when a huge wave came in and knocked them around, nearly sweeping some out. A few crawled to safety, the witness said.

One official said the injured person suffered a broken leg.

Lifeguards and the fire department responded.

Queen’s Bath is especially dangerous from late September through April, Melamed said.

“Waves and currents create life-threatening conditions along our north and west shores due to storms along the North Pacific,” he said.

Queen’s Bath is a clear, saltwater pool on the North Shore that is refreshed by the open sea and framed by Kauai’s mountains. Its natural beauty, coupled with its tumultuous conditions, can spell out disaster, Melamed said.

“Queen’s Bath is most susceptible to these swells, and the formations of lava rock and scenic setting make it most inviting,” he said. “No matter how many warnings are placed, unless the area is completely closed off, there will continue to be life-threatening rescues, drownings and needless injuries that jeopardize our rescue team, our visitors and our residents.”

The question, Melamed said, is what jurisdiction has the authority to do so.

Queen’s Bath is on state land, but the path leading there is on private land.

The county owns an easement on the trail and the parking lot adjacent to the trailhead. And in 2002, by decree of then-Mayor Maryanne Kusaka, the trailhead was closed for about two months.

But it was reopened when a Hanalei resident discovered that by state law, only an act of the County Council, through a resolution or ordinance, can close a public-access route.

Over the last 20 years, Queen’s Bath has become a popular hot spot among tourists, after visitor guides like “Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed” started including it in their publications.

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