Hillside Collapses at Popular Diamond Head Beach

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A 44-year-old woman is in serious condition at the Queen's Medical Center with head and neck injuries.  It was a very close call as a massive piece of the rugged hillside collapsed just above her.

It happened at a popular Diamond Head beach but the incident isn't stopping people from going near the area. Yellow tape warns beachgoers to stay clear of the hillside and the boulders.

Gregg Forrey, a visitor from Idaho, was surprised to hear about the incident.

"It's pretty scary you usually don't think of the dangers of a beach," he said.  "You usually think of tides or drowning or having a rock slide in some areas is certainly something you have to consider I guess."

The chunk of the hillside that gave way is about as big as a Volkswagon Beetle.  Standing next to it gives you an idea of just how massive it really is.  Despite the danger, it didn't stop at least a dozen people from walking by to get a closer look while our camera was there.

Norman Duncan exercises around this area just about every day.  This time he wanted a closer look.

"Today I was taking my usual run, I run up to the top of the lookout of the lighthouse and then sometimes I'll meditate out on the beach here for a few minutes and walk up the hill and back," he said.  "But, today I thought I'd take a look at that slide."

Duncan said whenever he comes this way he never goes close to the rugged hillside.

"I know it can happen but I don't get close enough to the wall I kind of stay out by the water on the solid part", he said.

In fact, a sign is posted nearby that warns beachgoers to watch out for falling rocks.

Norman Duncan's advice, is what many onlookers have a hard time doing.

"But if you stay close to the wall, the odds of getting hit are a little higher so I just stay away from it", he said.

Sources tell KHNL News 8 the woman did have a pre-existing heart condition, for which she is now being treated.  She suffered head injuries and a broken clavicle when the debris fell on her.  Authorities from the Department of Land and Natural Resources are also looking into the incident.