Leaders grapple with Kauai drownings spike

Garden Isle close to tripling drowning deaths in 2012

Published  2:11 PM HST Apr 26, 2013
HONOLULU -

In less than four months this year, Kauai is already close to tripling the four drowning deaths seen on the island in all of 2012.

Kauai Visitors Bureau executive director Sue Kanoho says 11 drownings this early in the year is a "huge concern."

The rate has become so problematic that Hawaii's state Senate is asking airlines to show a video on flights into Hawaii cautioning people about ocean safety. Sen. Michelle Kidani, who introduced the resolution, says if the videos save just one life "it's well worth it."

The proposal passed the state Senate this month but is no more than a non-binding statement.  A companion resolution failed to pass the House earlier this week.  It's not clear whether airlines would participate.

Kanoho says it will take a combination of initiatives to get visitors and residents to understand the precautions they should take before exploring the island's oceans and mountains.

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