Woman Rescued After Being Pinned Under Her Own Vehicle at Punalu‘u Wharf

July 5, 2017, 2:48 PM HST (Updated July 5, 2017, 2:58 PM) · 2 Comments

The Hawai‘i Police Department Ka‘u Patrol responded to a report of a “traffic accident with injuries” on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at approximately 6:30 p.m. at the Punalu‘u Wharf, where a woman was found pinned beneath a motor vehicle.

Marlene Fernandez, 32, the operator of the white Ford SUV, had reversed from a campsite toward the boat ramp.

It was reported that the vehicle did not have brakes and the driver’s side rear tire went over the rocky ledge next to the ramp.

The vehicle stopped at an unstable angle.

As Fernandez got out of the SUV through the driver’s side door, it shifted and rolled further downhill, pinning both of her legs underneath the driver’s side front tire.

Big Island Now was sent a video of the incident by Wim Koki, who said he was not sure what was going on at first. But when he saw rescue personnel and someone pinned underneath a vehicle, he began filming.


“We were at the beach house for my Goddaughter’s birthday party and happened to look over to the boat ramp,” Koki said. “When I saw a white SUV down the small embankment and almost in the water, I decided to shoot a live video. Fire and police and ambulance were already on the scene, and we thought they were just pulling the SUV up in a regular tow. But then I zoomed in and realized there was a person stuck under the vehicle.

“I kept the video going until they were able to produce enough people to lift the SUV and get the person free from underneath it and get them taken away for medical attention,” Koki said.

Wim Koki photo, Wednesday, June 28, 2017.

The Hawai‘i County Fire Department rescued Fernandez from beneath the vehicle and transported her to the Hilo Medical Center in critical condition, where she was treated and released.

“We were happy it turned out to be a better situation than what it started out to be with the person being rescued,” Koki said.

“My family sends prayers to this person and hope that place heals after the excavation took place and the ancestors are no longer upset,” Koki added.

The location was near the scene of the illegal excavation that took place the previous week.

Debra Lordan
Debra Lordan has been a writer and website editor for Pacific Media Group since 2014. She has 39-plus years of experience in the publishing industry, serving in a variety of positions—from photographer, graphic designer and communications director to writer, editor and general manager—at scientific research centers, in book publishing, at a weekly newspaper and various magazines. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado.

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