Saving Surfer in Waimea Bay Wipeout Reaps Recognition
By Wendy Osher
Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services personnel joined fellow first responders from the Medical Services division in accepting awards for a recent rescue.
Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle today presented Lifesaver Awards to a team of paramedics and lifeguards who helped in saving a surfer in distress.
Surfer Derrick Mirikitani was rescued by the team when he wiped out in a large wave at Waimea Bay on January 16, 2011. A fellow surfer pulled Mirikitani to the surface by the leash of his board, and lifeguards took over from there.
Officials credit lifeguards and paramedics with their timely response and successful resuscitation efforts, saying the surfer made a full recovery and was released from the hospital one week after the incident.
“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,” he said.
Among those recognized were lifeguards Abe Lerner and Mark Dombrowski, who responded by jet ski; lifeguards Kerry Atwood, Jeff Okuyama, and Andrew Logreco started resuscitation and life support measures on shore; Lt. Vitor Marcal and Michael Jutt who responded to assist; and City Emergency Medical Services paramedics Jeffrey Hughes and Eric Chiavetta who performed advanced life support measures and transported the patient to Wahiawa General Hospital. Also recognized was Capt. Klaus Van Der Leeden from the Ocean Safety division.
“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,” said Ireland.