Surf Photographer Dies at Banzai Pipeline

On February 9, 2005 a well-known surf photographer died while taking photos in the water at O‘ahu’s famous Banzai Pipeline. A west swell was occurring at the time, and may have created dangerous currents that swept the 33-year-old onto a shallow reef area.

The same man had been bitten by a shark in 1993 offshore of Goat Island in Mālaekahana, requiring 30 stitches on each foot.[i]

Shark Rams Surfboard

On February 16, 2005, a man surfing on O‘ahu’s north shore was struck from below by an estimated 8-foot-long tiger shark. The incident occurred about 40 yards from Rocky Point at Sunset Beach.

The shark hit the board so hard it knocked the wind out of the surfer, who then tried to swim away while kicking at the shark. The man was able to get back on his surfboard and get to shore safely. After the attack the beaches were closed from Sunset Beach to Pipeline.[ii]

Chute Malfunction Kills Skydiver

On February 6, 2005, a skydiver died when his main parachute malfunctioned over Mokulē‘ia on O‘ahu’s north shore. The chute suffered a “line-over malfunction,” involving one of the chute’s lines looping over the top of the chute.

The Pearl Harbor sailor had 171 jumps logged and was attempting to open his backup chute when he crashed onto the beach. The main chute was deployed at an elevation less than 2,000 feet, leaving little time to react to a chute failure.

At about 450 feet he jettisoned the main chute and then at about 250 feet he pulled the handle on his reserve chute. The lines came out but there was not enough time for the parachute to deploy. Beginning divers usually deploy their chutes at elevation of more than 3,500 feet so there is more time to react in case of a mishap.[iii]

In 2002 a male tandem instructor and an 18-year-old woman died when their main and reserve chutes failed over Mokulē‘ia. Another death occurred in 1998 when a well-known skydiving stunt performer crashed into a banana field near Dillingham Airfield after his backup chute became entangled with his main chute.

Shark Bites Surfboard

On Feb. 16, 2005 in clear water at Sunset Beach on O‘ahu’s North Shore, a shark estimated to be about 8 feet long bit into a surfer’s surfboard. The depth of the water where the attack occurred was about 10 feet.[iv]

Boulder Smashes into Home

On [Monday before 3/9/05] a four-foot-diameter boulder estimated to weigh about 450 pounds crashed into a home in O‘ahu’s PāloloValley. After the boulder came barreling into the home it then crashed through another wall and came to rest in a bedroom closet.

The home’s occupants were in the living room when the incident occurred. Less than a year earlier a similar sized rock had rolled down the hill above and just missed the home.

Some earlier boulder incidents in the Hawaiian Islands include a two-ton boulder crashing through a home’s roof in 1954, a one-ton boulder hitting a home in 1958, a car crushed in 1961, and a boulder smashed into the corner of a home in 1993.[v]

Glider Crash Kills One, Two Survive

On April 6, 2005, an a Schweizer SGS2-32 commercial glider plane crashed into a hillside south of Dillingham Airfield killing the 22-year-old pilot and injuring the two passengers, a 52-year-old man and his 12-year-old daughter.

The two survivors were strapped into their seats and trapped in the overturned craft for more than two hours as they waited for rescuers to arrive. They suffered only scrapes and bruises.

The plane apparently had hit a downdraft and was able to pull out of it, but then immediately hit another downdraft. The region in which the crash occurred is known by pilots as the “toilet bowl” due to unpredictable winds “flushing” up and down the hillsides.

Initially the passengers could hear the pilot breathing, but were unable to help him. Eventually rescuers arrived and the two survivors were extricated from the plane and airlifted from the scene. The pilot had received his commercial pilot’s license just 11 days before the accident.[vi]

Mother and Infant Survive Cliff Plunge

On April 13, 2005, two people survived and two died when a car plunged nearly 200 feet down a cliff in West Maui. The driver of the car had pulled off at a roadside lookout along the Honoapi‘ilani Highway, and then when leaving the area the driver inadvertently went off the edge. The car came to rest upside down on the rocky beach below.

Killed in the crash were a 34-year-old woman and 18-year-old man. The survivors of the crash included a 16-year-old mother and her three-month-old daughter.

The mother was thrown from the vehicle as it fell, and was able to cling to a rock on the cliffside, suffering only minor abrasions. Her infant daughter was strapped into a child safety seat in the back of the car. The child was flown to a hospital on O‘ahu, but suffered only bruises.[vii]

Shark Knocks Man of Surfboard and Bites Board

On May 2, 2005, a man surfing in Maui’s Kū‘au Bay was knocked off his surfboard by a shark that bumped into his ankle and bit into his board. Surfing the spot commonly known as Noriega’s, the man was about 200 feet offshore when the incident occurred, and he saw “...a shark’s gray head, about 18 inches wide, gnawing on the board.”

Hammerhead sharks had been seen birthing in the area two days earlier, but it remains unsure what type of shark bit the man’s board. The 7-foot-10-inch surfboard was left with six tooth marks.[viii]

Man Spends the Night Afloat off Maui

A 21-year-old visitor became separated from his rented WaveRunner personal watercraft on Sunday, June 19, 2005 when he was thrown from the watercraft by a wave, and then it drifted away from him before he could swim to it.

Wearing a life jacket, he spent the night adrift in waters off Maui. Rescuers searched through the night with no success, and then at 8 a.m. in the morning the man was spotted in the channel between Lāna‘i, Maui, and Moloka‘i.[ix]

Needlefish Impales Man

On July 21, 2005 a blue crocodile needlefish (sometimes called the “living javelin”) about 4½-feet long impaled a 19-year-old man in the stomach. The victim recalled, “when I looked down, all I saw was eyes and teeth, and it drove right through my chest.”[x] Suffering damage to his liver, the victim was taken to Queen’s Hospital.

The crocodile needlefish, the biggest type of needlefish, may reach five-feet long, and sometimes skips along the water’s surface. The impaled man was spearfishing in water about seven feet deep at about 11 p.m. at O‘ahu’s Kahana Bay when the attack occurred. Experts say such an attack is most likely to occur at night when a light is being used, as was the case in this attack.

After impaling the man the needlefish, estimated to be about four feet long, wriggled loose. The victim underwent surgery and spent three days in intensive care, receiving 45 stitches.

He was left with a foot-long scar from his groin to his breastbone.[xi] A small, blue tooth left behind in the man’s stomach was used to identify the fish.

Boy on Tour Flight Spots Missing Man

In July of 2005, a 41-year-old man who became lost while hiking on Sunday, was rescued on July 22 after he was spotted by a 15-year-old boy on a helicopter tour flight. After the tour flight had finished flying around Kīlauea Volcano, the boy noticed a flash of light on a hilltop in a lava field.

The boy used the helicopter’s cabin microphone to ask the pilot about the flashing light, and the pilot circled around for another look, spotting the man, who was using a shiny object to signal the helicopter, and then began waving his arms at the craft to signal his distress;.

Helicopter Crash into Ocean Kills Three, Two Survive

On September 23, 2005, an Aerospatiale AS350 sightseeing helicopter crashed in the ocean off Hā‘ena, Kaua‘i. A man and two women died in the crash. The pilot and two other passengers, a married couple, survived.

The pilot claimed he maneuvered his helicopter to avoid an oncoming helicopter. The other two survivors gave a different account, claiming they did not see any oncoming helicopter.

Shark Bites Surfboard

In October of 2005, an eight-foot (2.4 m) shark jumped from the water and bit the board of a surfer, then proceeded to thrash the board back and forth as the surfer struggled to stay on. The surfer then hit the shark in the nose and attempted to push the shark away. The shark let go and left.[xii]

Airplane Crashes on Haleakalā

In October of 2005, a twin-engine Cessna 310 airplane crashed on Maui’s Haleakalā Volcano. The crash occurred at about 9:30 p.m. at about the 3,700-foot elevation of the volcano. The pilot was a former employee of United Airlines, had more than 20,000 hours of flight time logged.

Surfer Dies at Banzai Pipeline

On December 2, 2005, a well-known professional surfer died while surfing Banzai Pipeline on O‘ahu’s north shore after wiping out on a large wave. The 25-year-old Tahitian native had dropped down the face of the wave when the lip broke and hit him directly from above, ripping his leash off his leg and breaking his board.

When the surfer failed to surface after the wipeout, numerous people ran from the beach into the water and then formed a human chain to search the victim. He was found about ten minutes later about 200 yards east of where the incident occurred.[xiii]

Shark Attacks Swimmer

On December 21, 2005 at about 11:30 a.m., a swimmer was attacked by a shark losing his left pinkie finger and the top of his ring finger and the side of the palm of his left hand. The attack occurred about 300 yards off of Keawakapu Beach on south Maui.

The man said that he heard a snap and then saw that the shark had taken part of his hand. He used his right hand to hold the wound and control the bleeding as he swam toward shore on his back, kicking with his feet and holding the wounded hand above the water.

The victim swam part way to shore before being assisted by some surfers and boogie boarders when he was about 100 yards offshore. He saw the shark come up from below, and noticed its gray surface and white stomach.

Not long after the attack a 12-foot-long tiger shark was spotted in the area by a fire rescue helicopter. The next day an 8-foot-long tiger shark was spotted by a county helicopter about one mile away, temporarily keeping local beaches closed.[xiv]

Two Planes Collide in Midair During Refueling Exercise

On December 22, 2005, a C-17 cargo aircraft collided with a fuel-laden Hawai‘i Air National Guard KC-135R tanker aircraft during refueling training about 200 miles off O‘ahu.

The accident sent the Air Guard plane into a dive as the crew responded while in a zero-gravity drop. The tail of the Air guard plane sustained minor structural damage.[xv]

Helicopter Crash Kills Pilot During Fire Fighting Effort

On December 25, 2005, a McDonnell Douglas 369FF helicopter run y Inter-Island Helicopters crashed near Līhu‘e, Kaua‘i, killing the pilot. The crash occurred as the pilot was loading water into an attached bucket as part of an effort to combat a brushfire.[xvi]

Tour Divers Encounter Great White Shark

On December 8, 2005, the captain of a tour company that allows people to get close to sharks (the people are in an aluminum cage), got out of the protective cage when an estimated 19-foot-long great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) appeared during an outing off Hale‘iwa, O‘ahu. The shark was so large that the man initially mistook it for a humpback whale.

The encounter was captured on video, and is said to be the first footage of a great white shark in Hawaiian waters. The man got in the water with the shark and repeatedly touched its fins and tail. The footage also shows the shark brushing up against the boat. The great white shark encounter was shown on local and national news networks, and reported in various other news media.

[i] Hoover, Will. Photographer dies at Pipeline. The Honolulu Advertiser, 2/10/2005.

[ii] Fujimori, Leila. Shark bumps surfer on North Shore: An estimated 8-foot tiger shark surprises the professional surfer off Rocky Point. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 2/17/2005.

[iii] Nakaso, Dan. Skydiving accident kills Pearl sailor, 24. The Honolulu Advertiser, 2/07/2004.

[iv] Aguiar, Eloise. North Shore surfer survives shark bite. The Honolulu Advertiser, 3/24/2006.

[v] Bernardo, Rosemarie. Boulder crash worries Palolo neighborhood. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 3/09/2005.

[vi] Lum, Curtis, and Boylan, Peter. Crash kills pilot; dad, child survive: Pair stuck in glider wreckage signal for help with camera. The Honolulu Advertiser, 4/07/2005.

Vorsino, Mary. Pilot is killed in tour glider crash: Two passengers of the newly licensed pilot are rescued from the Mokuleia wreck. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 4/07/2005.

[vii] Hurley, Timothy. Infant, teen mom survive car plunge: Two others killed after vehicle dives off West Maui cliff. The Honolulu Advertiser, 4/14/2005.

Kubota, Gary T. 2 killed in plunge off Maui cliff: A teen and her baby survive the car’s slide from a turnoff past the Lahaina pali lookout. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 4/14/2005.

[viii] Hurley, Timothy. Surfer ‘shaken up’ after shark rams him on Maui: Kū‘au Bay beaches closed until at least this morning. The Honolulu Advertiser, 5/03/2005.

Kubota, Gary. Surfer escapes shark’s jaws on Maui. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 5/03/2005.

[ix] Ohira, Rod. Visitor OK after water rescue: Life jacket credited with saving man found off Maui. The Honolulu Advertiser, 6/20/2005.

[x] Moreno, Loren. Needlefish victim recalls attack: Fisherman, still in pain, not sure if he’ll dive again. The Honolulu Advertiser, 7/30/2005.

[xi] Essoyan, Susan. Fisherman finds out he was speared by crocodile needlefish: The “living javelin” is not known to hit humans, experts say. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7/30/2005.

[xii] Maui surfer tangles with 8-foot shark. The Garden Island, 10/17/05.

[xiii] Lum, Curtis. Top surfer dies at Pipeline: Tahitian Malik Joyeux well known on North Shore.

Kind surfer had bright future: The beloved Tahitian who died at Pipeline was viewed as an up-and-coming star. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 12/05/2005.

[xiv] Kubota, Gary T. Shark sighting forces more beach closures: Maui spots could reopen today after officials meet. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 12/23/2005.

Wilson, Christie. Shark attack off Maui costs man pinkie, tip of ring finger. The Honolulu Advertiser, 12/22/2005.

[xv] Cole, William. Air tragedy averted 200 miles off O‘ahu: Hickam commander one of pilots in C-17 tanker collision. The Honolulu Advertiser, 12/28/2005.

[xvi] Recent Fatal Copter Crashes. The Honolulu Advertiser, 3/9/2007.