Words of danger still resonate

Cory
Cory Hurley
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Couple who helped girl ashore in Pasadena calls for safety measures

“Help.”

The word echoed across the water and through the wind toward Pasadena beach last weekend. It reached the ears of Brenda LeDrew Keys and her fiance Don Saunders, and it brought no solace in being right.

Just moments before, the pair vacationing in LeDrew Keys’ former hometown stopped their assent from the beach to the nearby home they were renting. A two-seater personal watercraft with four riders had caught their attention. The thrill of the joyride did not resonate within the couple ashore.

There were four young girls swimming well out in the lake, seemingly more impressed than the bystanders in the distance of the craft and its passengers bouncing along the waves largely generated by its own reckless abandon. The watercraft circled the swimmers over and over, coming far too close to the girls for the liking of the onlookers.

“We were concerned because of the speed at which he was going around them, and the proximity to them,” LeDrew Keys said.

The wind had picked up and the calm waters of the lake started to splash much like the wake of the small craft that had departed. The girls left to swim ashore, and it appeared to LeDrew Keys and Saunders they were struggling.  A girl at the back of the group seemed to be particularly labouring.

Saunders ran for the oars of their boat to row out in case their assistance was required, and started toward the swimmers bobbing through the lops.

That single-word cry confirmed their concern was accurate.

Knowing this one girl for sure was in trouble, LeDrew Keys ran for her surf board and headed after her. Using the surfboard, she assisted her to shore.

As the girl rested on the beach, LeDrew Keys and Saunders started back to the water toward the last girl still struggling to reach shallow water. Before they headed back, she finally found footing along the bottom.

While their original concerns were over a collision between the motorized craft and the swimmers, the result of a combination of horseplay and a change in the wind and water led to a near tragedy.

“The girl was very thankful; she thanked us,” LeDrew Keys said. “She left, perhaps joining her friends. She was shivering, very cold.”

They scoured the beach afterwards in hopes of locating the swimmers, but were unsuccessful. They had hoped to be able to identify the driver of the craft to report the incident to police.

It is not an isolated incident in regard to recreation, according to the vacationing couple.

Pasadena Mayor Otto Goulding said the safety on and near the beach is a priority for the town. Other than increased awareness and education, the mayor said alternatives were limited as to a solution.

He encouraged the witness to write a letter to the town. LeDrew Keys was doing just that Friday, after being away visiting the Northern Peninsula this week.

Another vacationing couple from Hawaii has been particularly disturbed to see this type of recreational boating permitted in such a crowded public beach and swimming area.

Jo-Anne and Stathie Prattas are staying with family nearby the beach, which has been a popular place to relax during their vacation. The Prattas’ say watercrafts such as these are not permitted in areas frequented by swimmers in Hawaii. An area where they can be used is designated.

There was an incident where a swimmer was decapitated by such a machine, according to the couple.

Jo-Anne also witnessed the circling of the four swimmers that day. She also said it is not an isolated incident.

“It’s definitely a danger,” she said. “I just couldn’t believe they allow that to go on.”

She suggests the area should be roped off, prohibiting watercrafts.

She expects somebody will get hurt or killed.

“It’s not if, it’s when,” she said.

Geographic location: Pasadena, Hawaii

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