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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                       November 15, 2006



City Ocean Safety Division lifeguards closed the beach at Hanauma Bay this morning because of unusual surges in the waters there, and by mid-day, ordered the entire park closed.

“Our people there reported the currents and the surge in the bay were really strange,” said Dr. Libby Char, director of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department. “The water level would drop several feet in a few minutes, then come back.”

“It’s a unique occurrence,” said Ocean Safety Administrator Ralph Goto. “The water gets sucked out of the bay, exposing the entire reef, then surges back in. It’s like one cycle of high and low tide, which usually takes six to eight hours, happened in a matter of minutes.”

Unusual surges were reported at various spots on Oahu this morning, apparently an aftermath of the earthquake in the Kuril Islands across the Pacific.

Lifeguards found a couple of people in the water at Hanauma at 7:20 a.m. and got them out. They kept all subsequent beachgoers out of the water. Shortly after noon, with conditions unchanged and the surge continuing, Char advised the Department of Parks and Recreation to close the entire park.

“We thank everyone for their cooperation and understanding,” said Goto.

Char said City lifeguards rescued a woman visitor from the surge near the Waikiki Beach breakwater.




            Bryan Cheplic, HESD public information officer, 723-7814


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

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