Tragedy averted after Coast Guard officials rescue eight people from the Kaiwi Channel.
It happened during a kayak escort excursion Sunday and the kayakers say preparation made the all the difference.
The four teens and four adults were about 12 miles west of Moloka’i when their 21-foot recreational vehicle started taking on water. Kayaks on board were tied together as a flotation device.
"Water was just coming in too fast for the bilge pump to puno the water out and that caused the back of the boat to sink down. We started to turn around to outrun the wave and the boat was already too heavy and it just sank," said Mark Henry Reeves.
But the site of the Coast Guard helicopter gave them relief.
"It was such a good site to see. We were waiting for about two hours and when we saw it, we were so stoked," said Reeves.
"The younger boy had a harder time to get into the cave, so my son had to pull him in. He was a bit shaken by the whole ordeal," said Haoli Reeves. "I'm just grateful to have him [my son] and extremely grateful for God and the Coast Guard."
Haoli confirmed that the vessel his son was on had an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon that was activated after the vessel had sunk. They were able to tie three kayaks together and cling to it after the vessel sank.
Watchstanders at Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu received an unregistered signal for possible persons in distress approximately 12 miles west of Molokai.
The JRCC launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point to search the area.
Shortly after the initial unregistered signal notification, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received a call from a father indicating his son and seven others were in distress in the vicinity of the signal. SCC issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast to mariners in the area.
A Coast Guard Auxiliary airplane crew was diverted and a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu was launched to the scene.
The Dolphin crew arrived on scene and safely hoisted four people in the helicopter then transported them to Sandy Beach Park where members from the Honolulu Fire Department were waiting to assist with the victims.
The Dolphin crew returned two more times to the scene to pick up the remaining people from the water.
All eight people were wearing their life jackets. No injuries were reported.