A recent social media post accused new Kuhio Beach tenant, Dive Oahu of doing nothing when others spotted a man unresponsive in the water near its new beach stand, over the weekend.
The 78-year-old man who was found unresponsive, identified as Teruhiko Sakura of Japan, has died.
"I pulled him out of the water and no one in the corner of Dive Oahu responded," a good Samaritan said in an Instagram video.
President of Hawaiian Ocean's Waikiki, Herbert Chang managed the former beach stand in that same spot. Chang says it comes with the territory, adding that when running a business, everyone must being willing to help anyone in need.
"We've saved many people in front of our stand, because people are in trouble and regardless of who it is.. one that's common decency," Chang said. "That's a Kuleana that we've inherited.. and that's part of our job."
But a spokesperson for Dive Oahu says that its employees did help. On Tuesday, the company issued the following statement:
As we are aware, the first person to respond to the victim was a good Samaritan in the water. Two of Dive Oahu's staff members were alerted to the situation by someone yelling for assistance and they rushed to their aid. These two staff members assisted in bring the victim on to shore where a bystander on the beach identified themselves as being an off-duty paramedic, Dive Oahu's staff moved aside to allow this individual to implement CPR. On-duty lifeguards were then quickly on scene and taking charge of the situation. During the incident Dive Oahu's staff stopped all rental transaction as is our protocol. Dive Oahu assisted in maintaining an egress by asking all onlookers to move back, keeping a section of the beach clear in order to assist first responders in their rescue efforts. Dive Oahu's top priority is always safety. Safety of our customers, staff, and everyone enjoying the ocean. Dive Oahu is deeply saddened by the loss of life that resulted from this incident and is always proud to support our C&C Lifeguards in protecting our ocean going public.
Dive Oahu outbid Hawaiian Ocean Waikiki and Star Beach Boys, who ran business along the popular beach spot for close to 50 years. Protests had sparked as the deadline to replace the longtime beach stands with Dive Oahu approached.
Earlier this month, the company claimed its customers and staff had been harassed. Former beach stand owners had told Island News they we're unaware and did not condone harassment. Although some have pointed out some concerns, including the company's canoe, which was not in operation even though under the city's beach stand concession contract, canoe rides must be offered to customers daily by a certified captain. Dive Oahu said its captain is waiting for a license renewal.