Coast Guard warning about tower collapse at Kewalo Basin

Eric Conley
Eric Conley
Luke Clayton
Luke Clayton
Charles Ho
Charles Ho

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

ALA MOANA (KHNL) - There's a warning for mariners, a day after a van crashes into a navigation tower on Oahu.

Boaters pulling into the channel at Kewalo Basin are at risk of running into problems.

The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a safety alert.

In front of Fisherman's Wharf on Monday, a stump was all that's left of the tower that collapsed onto all townbound lanes of Ala Moana Boulevard.

Now that it's out, mariners could have a harder time maneuvering in the dark.

The tower served like a beacon that mariners rely on.

"Especially at nighttime. Especially when the visibility is like, when you have rain," said Eric Conley, a catamaran captain.

The tower was a range light. The Coast Guard says they come in pairs - a front and a rear one.

"When a mariner's coming into the harbor they actually position the rear range light which was the one that was hit and the front range light together. So when those are together they kind of cancel each other out and that's when you know, that'll tell you that you're in a good position to enter the channel," said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Luke Clayton.

The rear range light at Kewalo Basin is now out, after a van crashed into it on Father's Day, around 5:42 p.m.

Emergency Medical Services says a man in his 50's and a preteen girl were in the van. They took them to The Queen's Medical Center - the man in serious condition, the girl in stable condition.

A married couple in a blue car almost got crushed while sitting in a red light. They were on their way to a Father's Day dinner at Aloha Tower Marketplace. Luckily, the tower landed on their trunk. They were shaken, but not hurt.

"I tried to move my car but my hand and leg became shaken. I got confused. Luckily, I missed the pole," said Charles Ho, the driver.

The Coast Guard says it's going to take three months to replace the rear range light. Until then, the Coast Guard says it's critical that mariners use the buoys to guide them into the channel at Kewalo Basin.

"That navigation light is pretty important for us to get into that channel. If it's out then most of us know the points to line up everything but a lot of people do not know where that is and you can run into the rocks on either side," said Conley.

The Coast Guard says it will send VHF 16 broadcasts warning mariners about the downed range light, until it's replaced.

Honolulu Police are now investigating what caused the van to lose control and smash into the range light.