The body of a Hanamā‘ulu woman was recovered Saturday afternoon from waters off Hanakāpī‘ai Beach on Kaua‘i’s North Shore, according to a County of Kaua‘i press release. Police have identified her as 53-year-old Janet Ballesteros.
If confirmed as a drowning, Ballesteros’ death would be the 13th drowning on Kaua‘i so far this year. On Thursday, Janice Klayson, a 70-year-old Kansas visitor, died while snorkeling in Po‘ipū, becoming the 12th drowning on Kaua‘i in 2016, autopsy pending.
At approximately 11:30 a.m., a State Parks ranger notified emergency personnel of a female swimmer in distress. Hanalei firefighters, North District lifeguards on jet skis, Rescue 3 aboard Air 1, and Coast Guards responded to the scene.
Lifeguards eventually located Ballesteros’ unresponsive body in a nearby cave but high surf and dangerous ocean conditions made it difficult to reach her. After several attempts, lifeguards were able to bring the victim out of the cave and transferred her to Air 1. Rescue 3 aboard Air 1 then transported her to the Kē‘ē Beach landing zone.
Police then worked to identify the woman and notify her family.
A High Surf Warning is in effect until 6 p.m. today. During the warning, beachgoers are urged to visit lifeguarded beaches on the east- or south-facing shores, such as Lydgate, Po‘ipū, or Salt Pond beach parks.
Ocean advisories can be modified or extended as conditions develop. For updated information, speak to a county lifeguard or visit www.weather.gov/hawaii.