Backhoe, lifeguards, firefighters assist during flood event

  • Contributed photo

    Jesse Olanolan of Jesse Olanolan Excavation used his backhoe to move sand and remove debris from a sandbar to prevent additional flooding on the Wainiha River Tuesday.

LIHU‘E —Earlier this week heavy rains inundated the island causing some localized flooding in streams and rivers. At about 2 p.m. Tuesday, authorities in response to the rising Hanalei River, made preparation to close the Hanalei Bridge.

Closing the bridge requies multi-agency coordination is to ensure resources are deployed on the Hanalei-side of the Hanalei Bridge before the closure.

According to a preliminary report, at approximately 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Kaua‘i Fire Department personnel responded to an Emergency Medical System call from American Medical Response Hawai‘i requiring assistance. A 12-year-old child in Hanalei needed to be transported to the Hanalei Bridge’s Princeville-side due to a medical condition.

Firefighters from the Hanalei fire station, who were deployed before floodwaters obstructed the highway, attempted to transport the 12-year-old child and her mother over the Hanalei Bridge utilizing Engine 1.

However, due to Kuhio Highway’s flooding near the Hanlaei Bridge’s vicinity, the child and her mother were brought to Black Pot Beach Park. There, the North Roving Ski unit with the Ocean Safety Bureau utilized a jet ski to successfully transport the child and her mother to the Hanalei fire station. At the station, they were received by an awaiting friend.

“Mahalo to the Kaua‘i Emergency Management Agency, Kaua‘i Police Department, Kaua‘i Fire Department, American Medical Response, and all State and County and non-governmental organizations,” said Mayor Derek Kawakami. “They go above and beyond to make sure our community is safe and well-informed during severe weather events.”

Coming to the rescue

Just after 5:30 p.m. Tuesday a Wainiha man used a backhoe to move sand and remove debris from the Wainiha sandbar to prevent additional flooding. Responding to an increase in floodwaters due to debris blocking the river mouth nearby the double bridges, Jesse Olanonlan used his backhoe to remove sand and debris from the Wainiha sandbar and assist local residents impacted by flash flooding.

Due to heavy rain beginning Monday evening which continued throughout the day Tuesday, there was a significant flooding event in Wainiha on Tuesday. Multiple areas along Kuhio Highway, including the portion of the highway and side roads in the vicinity of the Powerhouse Road, the double bridges, and the first Wainiha Bridge were impacted by flash flooding.

Local resident Blake Robeson thanked Olanolan for his assistance. Robeson describes the flooding on his property, “Today my yard was 30” deep in water. Flash Flood.” He added, “He helped our town from being completely flooded by releasing the back up. Thank you Jesse Olanolan Excavation.”

Haena was also affected by flooding along Kuhio Highway nearby Kepuhi point.

  1. Makoa Gonsalves January 22, 2021 5:50 pm Reply

    Backhoe. Haha

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