by: Beth Hillyer
WAIKIKI (KHNL) - Friday there was a deadly accident onboard a Waikiki catamaran out for an afternoon sail.A teenage boy died after he was pinned under the catamaran's broken 65 foot mast.
The crew of the Na Hoku II radioed they were in distress around four thirty this afternoon.They were near the Diamond Head buoy when the mast broke. The heavy aluminum pole crushed one teenage passenger.
A 41 year-old woman suffered critical head injuries Those victims were airlifted to shore.
The Coast Guard towed the crippled catamaran to the Ala Wai Boat Harbor. There paramedics treated a 45 year-old woman was in serious condition. There were 22 passengers on board when the accident happened. Most are believed to be visitors.
Many stood around in shock, wrapped in blankets. Families and friends hugged and held one another close. A hour-long boating excursion turned tragic.
Survivor Olivia Hernandez explains, "We were up on top of deck all of a sudden, heard a crack, covered in sails. Everyone screamed and we went down below, lot of screaming, boy trapped under mast. A woman got hit in head."
Investigators from the Coast Guard and the State Department of Land and Natural Resources took photos and measurements of the Na Hoku II.
The focus of their investigation is the broken mast.
DLNR officer Wes Mundy stated, "Right now there is an investigation going on and the passengers not hurt, there have been arrangements to take them back to their hotels."
Krash Nishimura who crewed the Na Hoku II for most of his career is stunned by the catastrophic mast failure.
"We feel for them. Hate to see this happen to anyone. We are all one big family. I'm in shock. I used to work on that boat a few years ago. It's hard on me to see this happen. Just a freak accident, I don't know what to say. Just sad.
Some are wondering if wind was a factor in this deadly accident.
Some passengers say conditions were very windy during their cruise toward Diamond Head.
But after the catamaran turned back toward Waikiki the wind died. Then the mast broke seconds later.
Captain Krash Nishimura who was out today at the exact same time said it was not especially windy.