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Sun Valley Man Drowns in Bid to Rescue His Son in Hawaii

August 20, 2003|From Associated Press

KIPAHULU, Hawaii — A San Fernando Valley man who was trying to save his 7-year-old son from drowning died after being swept out to sea, national park officials on Maui said.

Kevin Oakley, 41, of Sun Valley was swimming in the lower pool of a stream with his wife, Michelle, and their children, Brielle, 11, and Austin, 7, about 6 p.m. Monday.

When the boy's slipper floated away, he went after it. Oakley caught up with his son and grabbed him by the arm, but the two were swept out of the pool into a narrow, rocky part of the stream that leads to the ocean, officials said.

Oakley had his son in a bear hug as they were carried along, protecting him from the rocks.

Another Southern Californian, emergency medical technician Dean Miller of Placentia, swam out to save the boy but was unable to reach Oakley, officials said.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday August 23, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches; 94 words Type of Material: Correction
Hawaii drowning -- An article in Wednesday's California section incorrectly said a Sun Valley man who drowned Monday had been swimming with his family in a pool on a Maui stream, despite "No Swimming" signs. Haleakala National Park Supt. Don Reeser said the "early report we received was that they were swimming. Later on, from interviews, we found out that they were not." Kevin Oakley was swept out to sea while trying to save his 7-year-old son, who had gone into the stream to retrieve a shoe. The boy was rescued by another man.

Oakley was last seen swimming in the ocean, where waves were four to six feet. His body was later found about 400 yards offshore.

"No Swimming" signs had been posted in the parking lot and at the steps that lead down to the pool Monday because of the high water level, said Ranger Sharon Ringsven, spokeswoman for Haleakala National Park. The signs were still there Tuesday, she said.

"Those that don't heed the 'No Swimming' signs are still continuing to swim," Ringsven said. "A lot of people beeline it straight to the pools without looking at those things, because that's what they've heard of, that's what the tourism industry has promoted."

A ranger station near the pools closed at 5 p.m., she said.

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