Man apparently drowns at China Walls - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Man apparently drowns at China Walls

Rescue crews (image: Hawaii News Now) Rescue crews (image: Hawaii News Now)
Honolulu Fire Department Captain David Jenkins (Graphic: Hawaii News Now) Honolulu Fire Department Captain David Jenkins (Graphic: Hawaii News Now)
Image: Hawaii News Now Image: Hawaii News Now
Separate incident, same day at China Walls (Image: Hawaii News Now) Separate incident, same day at China Walls (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Separate incident, same day at China Walls (Image: Hawaii News Now) Separate incident, same day at China Walls (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HAWAII KAI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A 30-year-old man apparently drowned Wednesday while swimming at the popular China Walls in Hawaii Kai.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner's Office identified the victim as Zachary Felipe, of Honolulu.

Paramedics and lifeguards responded to the scene about 1:45 p.m., after Felipe's girlfriend called 911.

His body was found around 2:30 p.m. in about 40 feet of water.

"It was reported to us that he did go in the water on his own. He wasn't swept off the rocks. He went in for a swim and it's unclear on how he got into trouble. But the girlfriend reported that she lost sight of him, she couldn't see where he was. That's when she called for help," said Capt. David Jenkins, spokesman for the Honolulu Fire Department.  

China Walls has grown popular thanks to social media. Emergency responders have repeatedly warned the public that the area is dangerous.

Just hours after the incident, a Hawaii News Now camera captured two people getting knocked off the cliff by a wave.

"We were lucky, we didn't hit the rocks too hard or didn't hit our head…we felt the rocks hit us on the way down. The impact of the water wasn't easy as well…what happened to us with minor scratches and bruises, maybe a little swollen arms later on, definitely lucky," said Bryan Villa. 

Arno Reynolds, a firefighter,  just happened to be in the water at the time and helped the pair to safety.

He said Wednesday's fatality is tragic, but it happens way too often.

"I don't know exactly what happened earlier, but I know what I experience every day and like right now, it can be really calm and we have footage of it, extremely rough and large surf within a matter of seconds," said Reynolds, who also lives in the area.

Officials want to remind the public not to turn your back to the ocean and stay away from wet rocks.

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