Kudos to Sammy whom I met during the rescue.
My view of what happen being the second on the scene
500M or so off the launching spot at Kailua I saw the air rush kite on the water not re-launching, two other Kiters were riding further out and near by Sammy being the closest - I was doing 100m tacks and on the second (didn’t get his name - local) yelled at me to get help - man down - drowning.
I ripped into shore - went to to the nearest group of sunbathers ( i knew they would have a phone) told them to Call 911, had the other girl run to Life guard shack to Alert them - told her that a Kiteboarder (Sammy) was dragging in a drowning victim in 300 m off shore - "not Breathing / need water rescue".
I landed my kite gear and ran back into the water to help - swam 100m to intercept Sammy, who had him well in hand in a buddy rescue body drag on his back, and had his head well above water. I followed him and reassured Sammy as he asked me - that his head was indeed above water so he could focus on getting in. John was foaming a regular interval from the mouth, his face looked grey / purple.
1-2 min later we were at the beach, where others helped drag him onto the beach. Lifeguards with Quad and Jet Ski arrived 10 -15 sec after. They inserted a tube to provide an Airway and ventilated, Strong pulse, asked us if any one did CPR. Most of the water was already clear of his lungs. EMT and Fire rescue arrived in a bout 5 min later.
On the point of the Body drag- Sammy was pulling him faster than I could swim - and I used to be able to do 100m in 56 sec. John was wearing a Dakine Impact vest which gave Sammy something to hold on to which helped.
After having a chance to talk to Sammy that day and the following day - he told me that he saw him in the water - thought it strange the kite had not re-launched and was not being flown.... went for a closer look and saw the Victim face down,.. and went into rescue mode. Chucked his board, pulled the John's release to clear the kite, rolled him over and gave him a couple Heimlich style ab/chest compressions to clear water from his lungs - told me a lot of foam came out and looked pretty blue. Then started dragging and yelled for help to the other kiter who got me to get the call in.
As I replay this in my mind - a couple of things strike me;
Not been concerned that the kite didn't re-launch after a while (more than normal;
Not had the presence of mind and quick thinking to get to him keep his own kite;
Not released Johns kite;
Not cleared his lungs with a couple of quick compressions
Not get him in quickly to the beach with a body drag tow;
And not communicated the situation to a nearby Kiter...
this could have been a bad ending.
Having that situational awareness to see the possibility of a problem and then the regard for a fellow was paramount to the start of a successful rescue.
As for the story of the rescue in the paper... well just not the whole picture and only describes stabilizing the victim – the true unsung 1st responder was fellow Kite boarder Sammy.
Canadian in Hong Kong
3 years in row Kiting now at Kailua
Great stuff Jason. Thank you. Know that john the guy you guys saved is a super nice and helpful guy. It goes to show that we all need to be alert and mindful of eachother.
We're planning a little meeting beach park 7th of July in the morning. Keep an eye on kiteoahu.com/forum for more info..