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Boat Captain Rescues Swimmer in Kailua Bay

April 24, 2018, 6:29 PM HST
* Updated April 24, 7:36 PM
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Captain Zodiac Raft Expeditions’ Black Pearl. PC: TripAdvisor

A woman passenger from the cruise ship Carnival Legend was seen swimming in Kailua Bay, approximately 100 yards east of Kailua Pier at 4 p.m. on Monday April 23, 2018.

She appeared to be in some distress and was observed to be moving farther away from land.

Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation staff then contacted the owner of Captain Zodiac, Linda Zabolski, and asked if they could take her vessel, the Black Pearl, to check on the status of the swimmer.

Zabolski immediately offered the use of her vessel and crew to go out and check on the woman.

Black Pearl Captain Colin Cornforth contacted the woman and discovered she was in extreme distress.


Captain Cornforth and a crew member tried to help the woman into their vessel, but she was too weak to climb in.


Captain Cornforth then jumped into the water and rescue-towed her over 100 yards to shore.

The Hawai‘i Fire Department was contacted and responded to the scene. The victim was then transported by ambulance to the Kona Community Hospital.

“When swimming in the ocean, it’s best to have a swim buddy or let someone know where you’re going.,” DOBOR Hawai‘i boating manager Stephen Schmelz said. “We’re thankful that Captain Cornforth was able to take quick action to help bring the woman safely to shore. Acting as a lifesaver in the ocean can be dangerous for the rescuer.”

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