How can it be that in one day alone, six people are rescued during high surf conditions, four of whom are also trespassing illegally? All endangered their lives and had to be rescued by first responders. Fire chief Michael Gibson said of these six rescues, “Six individuals rescued on Thursday are fortunate to be alive.”
This all happened here on Kauai late last week.
Anini Beach was the site of the first incident. Two snorkelers were rescued, one a resident and one a visitor from Washington. The Hanalei Fire Department and the Roving Ski Patrol from the Ocean Safety Bureau responded to the emergency. Also helping was a surfer who came replete with a rescue tube found on many beaches. Lifeguards were responsible for one rescue, while the resident surfer was responsible for the other one, which took place 1/3 mile off-shore.
The snorkelers were found during huge 12-foot waves, which is mind-boggling to even think about. Once rescued, they both declined further medical treatment.
Four visitors rescued in dangerously high surf at Queen’s Bath.
The next rescue took place at the infamous Queen’s Bath in Princeville. Four visitors who hailed from Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Wisconsin were rescued.
It required the assistance once again of the Hanalei Fire crew, with the help of Rescue 3 and Air 1 units. When they arrived, they again found dangerously high surf, seemingly enough for anyone to realize it was life-threatening, even if the clear “No Trespassing” signs should have been enough to stop anyone from entering.
One of the visitors sustained a leg injury, while another suffered multiple but not life-threatening injuries. Once removed from Queen’s Bath, three of the four declined medical treatment. One person was airlifted by helicopter and then transferred to the hospital.
No trespassing: Queen’s Bath closed for the winter, starting in October.
The sign on the locked gate at Queens Bath read as follows:
NO TRESPASSING WHEN LOCKED DUE TO HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS. VIOLATORS MAY BE CITED, PROSECUTED, AND CHARGED FOR RESCUE OR RECOVERY EXPENSES.
The gate is locked, and Queen’s Bath is off-limits in winter due to a high number of rescues and out of concern for public safety.
History of Queen’s Bath Deaths and Rescues.
Queen’s Bath consists of a lava shelf with a tide pool. It remains one of the most in-demand of all Kauai attractions and one of the most deadly. BOH editors hike down to it (when it is open and lawful) and can report that even the walk down and back is treacherous and has resulted in rescues.
Authorities have repeatedly added updated fencing and security to no avail. Visitors defeat any protective barriers that are erected.
Queen’s Bath is most deadly from fall until Spring when the gate is locked. But that doesn’t deter visitors intent on adding that experience to their bucket list. For some, it has been their last adventure. There have been at least five deaths in the past ten years and thirty in total. Typically they are people who are swept off the rocks by the waves, much like what occurs at equally dangerous Lumahai Beach.
Social media and tourist guides proclaim Queen’s Bath the ultimate Kauai adventure. On TripAdvisor, one person writes, “Overall: this is a must-do on Kauai!”
Endangering their own and rescuers’ lives, flagrant trespassing, and expensive rescues. What do you make of it?