Search and Rescue Efforts Continue
Updated: Jun 29, 2022
By: Tosimaeʻa Tupua
Search for 22 year old drowning victim resumes at Leala Sliding Rocks.
A search for a young man who drowned off Leala sliding rocks resumed today, two days after strong rip currents pulled the young man underwater. On Saturday the young man’s friends and family members sat along the shoreline, comforting each other and staring out at the ocean, watching as lifeguards in boats cut through the water west of the Leala sliding rocks including the coast of Vaitogi all the way to Leone.
Authorities have not released the victim’s name, but confirmed that he was a 22 year old male.
On Saturday 10 Department of Public Safety Fire-Rescue officers aboard rescue vessels and watercraft participated in the search, using a drone to aid in the scuba searches.
Measuring along the shore, the search area stretched from Vaitogi to Leone. According to the rescue team authorities determine where to search based on data and experience. The drowning happened Friday afternoon around 13:00 hours however Police were not informed until 5:00pm the same day according to DHS Director Samana Ve’ave’a.
Families of the missing victim have been at the Leala since yesterday hoping for a miracle. Brandon Williams who was with the missing 22 year old told KVZK News he was swimming with his missing cousin close to the slippery rocks when all of sudden a huge wave swept both of them out to sea. “The current was so strong that despite my efforts to stay afloat it was impossible”, said Brandon Police and the rest of the rescue team have been at Leala since yesterday. After a 6 hours search today rescuers deemed the effort had turned from rescue to recovery.