The Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) received a 911 call at 1:37 p.m. for a surfer in distress near the Mokulua Islands in Kailua. Four HFD units staffed with 12 personnel responded. Since Air 1 had just completed another mission nearby and was airborne, it arrived at scene first at 1:44 p.m. and began an aerial search. One minute later, the first fire fighters arrived at the scene’s shoreline at 1:45 p.m. They made contact with the 911 caller who reported that her husband and son were paddle boarding separately and were overdue. In the meantime, Air 1 positively located the two overdue paddle boarders about 200 yards off of the Flagpoles surf spot. He utilized the aircraft’s public address system to verbally confirm who they were and that they were uninjured. Air 1 escorted them from above until transferring the monitoring of their progress to the fire fighters on the shoreline as they paddled to shore. The two paddle boarders arrived onshore safely at 2:28 p.m. and did not require any medical attention.

The HFD recognizes the good intentions of the 911 caller by not hesitating to call for help as her husband and son did not return to shore at the agreed upon time. The information she provided allowed the HFD to utilize our local knowledge of the area and technical expertise with performing a shoreline and aerial search for her family members.

The HFD provides the following safety tips:

Stick to the Plan
Inform someone onshore of where you intend to go and what time you plan on returning to shore. Make every effort to return to shore at the agreed upon time.
Assess Your Capabilities
Compare your level of fitness, ability, and experience with the ocean conditions. Be practical and realistic. There are a wide variety of surf spots in Hawaii, so pick one that suits your level.

For more information, please visit www.fire.honolulu.gov