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Fire Department Recruits Training for Aerial Rescues at Hapuna

August 22, 2013, 11:19 AM HST
* Updated August 22, 11:32 AM
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Just a few days after Hapuna Beach park was closed due to a shark sighting, Hawai`i Fire Department recruits began training for helicopter-assisted ocean rescues.

Hawai`i County’s chopper 1 spent the morning picking up recruits from a nearby staging area before flying low over waters off Hapuna Beach park, hovering momentarily to allow trainees time to exit the chopper before bracing themselves for what appeared to be a 20-30 foot dive into the ocean.

West Hawai`i Battalion Chief Reuben Chun, who monitored the dives from the nearby shoreline, told Big Island Now that the current recruit class of 12 to 13 firefighters should start active duty sometime in May of 2014.

Although the park was closed on Sunday due to a shark sighting, Hapuna Beach is now open to swimmers.

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