LIHU‘E — An O‘ahu man died Sunday afternoon of an apparent drowning while swimming at Hanakapi‘ai Beach in Ha‘ena.
Kaua‘i Police Department identified the swimmer as Jeremy Kanoa Hughes, 43, of Hau‘ula.
According to KPD’s preliminary report, around 4:20 p.m., a call was made to Dispatch indicating three distress swimmers, including two bystanders and Hughes.
Kaua‘i Fire Department personnel and lifeguards with the East Roving Unit were notified, along with Air-1 and Zodiac-1, as well as units from the U.S. Coast Guard, according to a KPD release.
Hughes was found unresponsive around 6 p.m. Multiple attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. KPD reported the two bystanders who jumped into the water to assist Hughes returned safely to the shore.
Hughes was taken to Black Pot Beach Park boat ramp by Zodiac-1 and subsequently transported to Wilcox Memorial Center where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy is scheduled to determine the exact cause of death.
One witness, Rachel Sipperley, said the beach was crowded Sunday, where she saw one bystander, a member of the Coast Guard, bring in another swimmer.
“If he hadn’t gone out, more people would have died,” she said.
Sipperley said she would advocate for more signage at Hanakapi‘ai noting the dangerous swells.
“It was really, really heavy,” Sipperley said. “It was such an eye-opening experience.”
Volunteers with Life’s Bridges, a grief counseling service, were contacted to offer support to the man’s family and friends.