The Kauai Fire Department personnel responded to two consecutive incidents and rescued two snorkelers and a hiker Thursday afternoon.
The first rescue occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m. at Larsen's Beach where two snorkelers were swept out to sea.
Immediately afterward, an injured hiker was airlifted from Hanakapi'ai.
At Larsen's Beach, a 63-year-old man from Long Beach, Calif. had been snorkeling in the channel when he was pulled outside the reef by the strong current. His 16-year-old son then grabbed a rescue tube that was posted on the beach and swam out to his father.
When Engine 1 arrived, they found the two men hanging onto the rescue tube about 300 yards west of the channel. Two firefighters attempted a rescue, but the current was too strong for them to reach the distressed swimmers.
Eventually, the current carried the swimmers over the reef to calmer waters near the end of the beach. From there, they made it to shore and were met by fire personnel and Medic 23
Initially, the two men declined medical attention. However, an assessment by the first responders revealed that the father had inhaled a large amount of salt water, making his breathing difficult, so he was taken to Wilcox Hospital for treatment.
The two firefighters who attempted the rescue were brought to shore on a jet ski that was manned by lifeguards from Tower 1.
While the rescue was in progress at Larsen's Beach, Rescue 3 aboard Air 1 flew to Hanakapi'ai to render aid to a hiker with an ankle injury.
They carried the 36-year-old Medford, Ore. woman from the trail to Air 1 and placed her inside the helicopter. From there, they flew to Princeville Airport and Medic 22 then transported her to Wilcox Hospital.