Dozens rescued from south shore waters as Hector kicks up surf

Dozens rescued from south shore waters as Hector kicks up surf
Big surf is pounding south shores of the islands Thursday. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Big surf is pounding south shores of the islands Thursday. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Lifeguards rescued more than 90 people from waters off Oahu's South Shore on Thursday, as a swell generated by Hurricane Hector created "extremely dangerous" conditions for even experienced oceangoers.

As of about 4 p.m., at least 63 people had to be rescued from waters off Waikiki while 715 were given warnings to prevent them from getting into trouble.

In Ala Moana, there were at least 29 rescues and 320 "preventive actions."

And off East Oahu, at Sandy and Makapuu beaches, there were 225 preventive actions and two rescues.

Among those rescued in Waikiki was a 16-year-old girl who was hit by a wave while playing in the surf and experienced trouble breathing. Paramedics responded, took over treatment from lifeguards and transported her to a hospital in serious condition.

Rescuers described the ocean conditions as chaotic, and said it's not like anything they'd seen in years.

"The currents are extremely dangerous," said Ocean Safety Capt. Paul Merino. "Dangerous as we haven't seen in many, many years."

At Kewalo Basin, some surfers couldn't even make it out to the surf break given the strong currents. The waves were also making it difficult for some boaters to get out of the Ala Wai Channel.

Surfer Travis Nagatani said the waves — with 10- to 15-foot faces — and strong current left him exhausted.

"It was rough. Just to stay in the line-up was difficult," he said.

Lifeguards urged anyone venturing into the water to use caution, and expressed concern about concession stands in Waikiki continuing to rent surfboards to visitors.

Merino said lifeguards will be working overtime along the south shore to keep oceangoers safe.

The big surf is thanks to Hurricane Hector, which is still a Category 3 storm south of the state.

A high surf advisory remains up, and forecasters said the swell is expected to continue through Thursday night.  The waves, combined with higher-than-normal tides Thursday afternoon, could also result in some coastal flooding.

Another, longer-period swell from a storm in the Southern Hemisphere is forecast to arrive Friday evening and hold through Saturday.

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.