Man drowns after jumping off tower into reservoir

Brandon Yabes
Brandon Yabes
Kevin Jacobs
Kevin Jacobs
Kacie Belanger
Kacie Belanger

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

NUUANU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Kapolei man has been identified as the victim of a stunt that turned tragic.  The medical examiner says Brandon Yabes, 22, drowned and that it was an accident.

Witnesses told police Yabes jumped off the tower at the Nuuanu Reservoir and hit the water awkwardly.  He never surfaced.

The tower is about 50 feet from the top to the water.  The indicator says the water depth is about 28 feet but considering the reservoir was built more than a 100 years ago that level can't be trusted because silt and sediment have likely collected.

"That's not really too accurate because there is silt on the bottom so it may have accumulated over time so it could be a little less than that," said Kurt Tsue, Board of Water Supply.

The Board of Water Supply has taken precautions with a gate preventing access to the tower.  There are also fences and plenty of signs stating no trespassing, danger and keep out.  But there are also ways around including hiking through a bamboo jungle.

There are plenty of not so secret spots all over the state where people cliff jump despite the risks involved.

"I just like the thrill. The adrenaline rush, that's what I like," said Kevin Jacobs, a visitor from New Orleans, who made the 50 foot jump at the Maunawili Falls.

Jacobs is with a group we spotted at Kapena Falls right off the Pali Highway.  Hearing about yesterday's incident was concerning.

"It definitely makes you nervous and second think things but what I do before the jump we did earlier we just make sure other people are doing it," said Kacie Belanger, New Orleans. "It's just doing something different and in a different place you've never been. A lot of people have done it before so you feel a little more comfortable, but when you do hear about something so tragic it does make you think twice."

"You always want to be cautious you don't want to go home hurt."

"Or not at all," added Belanger.

There are surveillance cameras at the Nuuanu Reservoir.  The Board of Water Supply isn't sure what it shows but if it does have the accident on tape it will be handed over to police.

The reservoir is only used for flood control. It hasn't been used for drinking water since 1919.

The state used to allow fishing at the reservoir, but that practice stopped in 2009.

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