- Associated Press - Thursday, August 17, 2017

HONOLULU (AP) - Visitors to the state are drowning at a much higher rate than the state’s local residents, according to Hawaii health officials. In fact, visitors to the island are drowning at nearly ten times the rate of locals.

Three-fourths of drowning fatalities for Oahu’s southern shores happen between April-September, the Department of Health said.

The number of visitors drowning from 2005-2014 was 356, which outpaced deaths of local residents at 294. But the rate of visitors who drowned is nearly ten times higher.

Drowning is the leading cause of death among visitors to Hawaii, Department of Health Epidemiologist Dan Galanis said. He said 50 percent of all Hawaii visitors deaths are drowning.

“There is an average of 75-80 per year, that is more than one a week,” Galanis said.



Hanauma Bay is a deadly spot to visitors. A total of 25 of the 27 deaths in the water there happened to visitors. Most occurred while visitors were snorkeling

“I don’t think they realize how dangerous it is or how strong the current was, or how big the surf is, or how it is not easy to just climb out of the water,” said Kawika Eckart, with the Ocean Safety Division.

But there are some beaches where more local residents, rather than visitors, have been drowning, KITV reports (https://bit.ly/2wj1vBd ).

An area of concern for Hawaii residents is the waters from Point Panic to the Ala Wai Harbor where 24 deaths by drowning took place. Most of the victims were locals.

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