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(Tues., Feb. 1, 2011)—Mayor Peter Carlisle today presented Lifesaver Awards to a team of Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services personnel and Emergency Medical Services paramedics who recently saved a surfer from a life-threatening situation.


“So many men and women who serve in the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services and Emergency Medical Services Division go unrecognized for their hard and dangerous work,” said Carlisle. “I’m honored to be able to recognize a few of these unsung heroes and express our appreciation for the work they do to keep our residents and visitors safe.”


On January 16, 2011, surfer Derrick Mirikitani wiped out on a large wave at Waimea Bay, was held underwater and rendered unconscious. Another surfer saw his surfboard floating in the water and pulled the surfer to the surface by his board’s leash. Lifeguards Abe Lerner and Mark Dombroski responded by rescue craft (jet ski) and got the patient to the beach where resuscitation and life support measures were started immediately by lifeguards Kerry Atwood, Jeff Okuyama, and Andrew Logreco. Lt. Vitor Marcal and lifeguard Michael Jutt responded to Waimea Bay to assist. CPR was performed and an automatic external defibrillator was used to resuscitate the patient. City Emergency Medical Services paramedics Jeffrey Hughes and Eric Chiavetta arrived on scene, performed advanced life support measures and transported the patient to Wahiawa General Hospital. Because of the timely response and successful resuscitation efforts of the lifeguards and paramedics, the surfer made a full recovery and was released from the hospital one week after the incident.


“This truly took a team effort,” said Honolulu Emergency Services Department Director James Ireland, MD. “This rescue occurred on a day with such large wave heights that very few people would venture to enter the water. Yet, our trained professionals were able to save this man and take charge of a critical situation within seconds.”


The Mayor recognized the following from the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services: Captain Klaus Van Der Leeden, Lt. Vitor Marcal, Michael Jutt, Mark Dombroski, Abe Lerner, Jeff Okuyama, Kerry Atwood and Andrew Logreco. The paramedics recognized were Jeffrey Hughes and Eric Chiavetta.


The Honolulu Emergency Services Department consists of the Emergency Medical Services Division, which provides emergency ambulance services on Oahu, and the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division, whose water safety officers protect beachgoers on Oahu’s beaches.