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Signs warned of dangerous surf. Then a wave swept vacationing woman off Hawaii beach, officials say

Queen’s Bath on the island of Kaua’i in Princeville, Hawaii, in 2012. A woman was swept out to sea at the beach Wednesday, fire officials say.
Queen’s Bath on the island of Kaua’i in Princeville, Hawaii, in 2012. A woman was swept out to sea at the beach Wednesday, fire officials say. The Associated Press file

A 23-year-old woman, on vacation in Hawaii with her boyfriend and two friends, hiked down a dirt trail Wednesday past signs warning of dangerous high surf to the Queen’s Bath beach on Kaua’i, reported The Garden Island.

Then a wave crashed over the woman as she climbed a rock, sweeping her out to sea as her friends watched, reported KHON.

The woman, from Los Angeles, California, may have been posing for a photo, reported The Garden Island. The wave swept her along the shoreline.

Bystanders “saw her face in the water momentarily, and then she was gone,” said Justin Shakleford, a Coast Guard senior chief, according to the publication.

Her friends saw an upraised arm, then her body in a white swimsuit floating face-down in the dark water before she was sucked down, Shakleford said, reported The Garden Island.

Firefighters, a helicopter and lifeguards on personal watercraft searched for the woman, who has not yet been named by authorities, but did not find her, reported Hawaii News Now.

“Queen’s Bath is known to be very dangerous, particularly in the winter months when surf is high,” Kaua’i Fire Department officials said in a statement.

“A High Surf Warning has been in effect for the North Shore of Kaua‘i since Tuesday, and the Queen’s Bath trailhead has been closed since last week,” the statement read.

A natural sinkhole formed by volcanic rock near Princeville on the island’s north shore, Queen’s Bath has been the site of several drownings in recent years, reported The San Francisco Chronicle.

A rogue wave swept a 28-year-old man out to sea in February 2017, reported the publication, while in 2013 two California men died after one jumped in to try to save the other after he was swept away.

Members of the Sri Lankan Navy rescued an elephant that had been swept out to sea. Divers tied ropes around the struggling elephant and towed to slowly to land and waiting veterinarians.

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