Vessel fatally strikes Army reservist in waters off Waianae

Vessel fatally strikes Army reservist in waters off Waianae
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

WAIANAE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 49-year-old man died Thursday after he was struck by a 21-foot vessel while in the water with his daughter at the Waianae Boat Harbor, police said.

The man was a member of the Army Reserves who was stationed at Fort Shafter.

The incident happened around 7 a.m., and witnesses said the victim may have been off his surfboard and in the water when he was struck.

Josh Munoz jumped into the ocean to try to save him but it was too late.

"She kept screaming, 'Help! Help me! 'Help me!' said Josh Munoz, who is a photographer with Dolphins and You.

Munoz said the victim had deep gashes on his hand, stomach, and head. He said he tried to console his daughter.

'Trying to kind of block her sight of him and just trying to keep her as calm as possible and just get this guy onto the boat and not let him fall back into the water," Munoz said.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said the victim, who was on leave and staying nearby, was struck with a recreational powerboat that was exiting the harbor.

He was brought to shore with the help of a commercial tour boat.

"We knew he was gone before they even brought him in," said witness Holly Stakes, a deck hand with Eo Waianae Tours.

Sam Sniffen, also a deck hand with the company, said stand-up paddleboarders and others are a common sight in the area, and they often swim in the area to see dolphins.

"Lots of times we do see people who don't have dive flags and stuff and that's what makes it really dangerous," Sniffen said. "When you drift away and you don't have a dive flag, you're not out there with your board, with many boats that come in and out of the harbor, it makes it extremely dangerous."

The victim's daughter was also in the water when the incident happened, and was uninjured.

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