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Fire crews rescue kayakers in distress off the Kohala Coast

Hawaii County Fire Department's Chopper One lowers the mother in a Billy Pugh rescue net to paramedics at Lapakahi State Park Sunday (Feb 14). Photography by Rusty Orr | Special to Hawaii 24/7.

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Hawaii County Fire Department's Chopper One lowers a 13 year-old girl in a Billy Pugh rescue net to paramedics at Lapakahi State Park Sunday (Feb 14). Photography by Rusty Orr | Special to Hawaii 24/7.

Fire/rescue crews responded to an alarm just before 3 p.m. for kayakers in trouble 1/2 mile off-shore Mahukona State Park Sunday (Feb 14).

A 57 year-old woman and 13 year-old daughter were kayaking in an inflatable kayak and got caught by an off-shore wind that prevented them from paddling back to shore. A bystander with a kayak attempted a rescue by towing the pair in but was unsuccessful.

County fire helicopters spotted the pair and dropped a rescue swimmer into the water along with lowering a Billy Pugh rescue net. First the girl then the mother were airlifted to Lapakahi State Park to a paramedic unit. Both kayakers were fatigued but alright and were transported back to Mahukona State Park. The report noted the kayaker’s unfamiliarity with windy conditions at Mahukona cause the problem.

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