To Stop Drownings, Hawaii Wants ... Airlines to Help

Kauai has already suffered 11 drownings this year

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Apr 26, 2013 1:31 PM CDT

(Newser) – Drownings are the leading cause of death for visitors to Hawaii and have long been a problem in the state. But the numbers have recently spiked: In less than four months this year, the island of Kauai has suffered 11 drownings; that's already close to triple the four deaths seen on the island in all of 2012. And that has some state lawmakers proposing an unusual tactic: enlisting airlines to help.

Hawaii's state Senate is asking airlines to show a video on flights into Hawaii cautioning people about ocean safety. (One such video recently started playing on a loop in the baggage claim area at Kauai's Lihue Airport.) The proposal passed the state Senate this month but is no more than a non-binding statement. It's not clear whether airlines would participate, and even some state lawmakers worry the videos could frighten tourists away. "You don't want to be on a plane and see people getting eaten by sharks," says Rep. Tom Brower.

This 2012 photo shows Queen's Bath on the island of Kauai.
This 2012 photo shows Queen's Bath on the island of Kauai.   (Anita Hofschneider)
Kauai Visitors Bureau Executive Director Sue Kanoho cautions that on any given day, the weather can changes and lead to deaths here by drowning.
Kauai Visitors Bureau Executive Director Sue Kanoho cautions that on any given day, the weather can changes and lead to deaths here by drowning.   (Anita Hofschneider)
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