City, federal agencies team up to cover sea, land and air in annual rescue drill

City and federal agencies team up for drill that covers sea, land and air

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - China Walls and Spitting Caves are spots in East Honolulu that not only offer picturesque views, but are also some of the most dangerous areas in the state.

Because of these locations’ history of accidents and injuries, Honolulu Ocean Safety, the Honolulu Fire Department and United States Coast Guard chose these areas as the backdrop for an annual joint training exercise Thursday morning.

“We have a high volume of calls in this area,” said Honolulu Ocean Safety lieutenant David Loui.

“A lot of it is related to cliff rescues, people jumping off cliffs and unable to get out of the water. High surf, lot of scuba, underwater missing divers, kayakers getting blown out.”

The city and federal agencies launched a coordinated effort by sea, land and air at Maunalua Bay for a rescue drill that centered on two missing paddlers.

The US Coast Guard says communication across the board couldn’t be more seamless.

“We made some big strides throughout this process this week in particular with having the ability with the Ocean Safety jet skis to communicate with the Coast Guard helos and also fire Air 1,” said US Coast Guard Honolulu sector commander, Nicholas Worst.

“I mean that coordination piece is amazing not only for the safety of the first responders, but also for the successful location of the individual in question.”

As the agencies meet each year, they are always making sure to infuse new technology.

Among the tools in the arsenal this year is an HFD drone, which can be critical in search and rescue.

“A different perspective, it’s basically a helicopter,” said HFD battalion chief Joe Kostiha. “Another set of eyes in the sky that we can actually cover more area in less time versus one helicopter out there.”

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