A 29-year-old mother-of-two from Hawaii drowned after slipping and falling from the top of a cliff in front of her horrified boyfriend before being swept out to sea.
Kalaiokealaula Ashley Nicole Reyes Kanekoa was with her boyfriend, Dylan Gapp, 31, watching the waves on a cliff near Hawaiian Paradise Park around 2 a.m. Sunday when she slipped and fell into the raging current near the Puna coast .
Her frantic boyfriend said he had to listen to her ‘suffer and scream for help’ during the agonizing wait for emergency personnel to arrive, Hawaii News Now reported.
He said when police and firefighters finally arrived, they were not equipped with the life-saving equipment they needed to rescue his girlfriend. During her ordeal, she attempted to throw a flotation device at him, but tragically the young woman was swept away by the ocean currents.
Traumatized by the unimaginable event, Gapp said his girlfriend survived the fall but not the long wait for help, and claimed emergency personnel should have done more to save her, according to the news outlet.
Kalaiokealaula Ashley Nicole Reyes Kanekoa, 29, slipped and fell off a cliff and then drowned early Sunday near Hawaiian Paradise Park.
Reyes Kanekoa was described by her boyfriend as a loving and devoted mother who would do anything for her children.
A memorial has been installed on the side of a cliff near the spot where the young mother, who tragically fell early Sunday morning, died.
‘I had to get him a raft. They had no flotation device. I brought the raft to them and said, ‘Okay, let’s put a rope on it so it doesn’t drift,’ and they said, ‘Oh, we don’t have any rope,'” Gapp said. Hawaii News Now.
“Sitting there and watching this little girl suffer for 45 minutes to an hour suffering and screaming for help and being told that eventually ships would come.”
Hawaii County police and firefighters responded seven minutes after the 911 call.
Officials said the fire truck was not required to carry marine equipment and, due to the dangerous conditions of a large north swell, it was too dark and dangerous for rescuers to enter the water.
Hawaii County Police Capt. Todd Pataray told the news outlet that they “requested services from the fire department for a rescue boat, attempted to call a fire department helicopter and called the Coast Guard.”
Gapp claimed he swam to where his girlfriend was clinging to a raft when the helicopter and rescue boat didn’t appear in time, but when he returned he said emergency services could no longer see her.
The devastated groom recalled the ordeal and claimed it took at least an hour to deploy a helicopter and raft.
‘She sitting on that raft screaming for help. ‘What do I do now? What do I do now?’ And me telling him that they are going to catch you, and that they are going to catch you. And they never came to get her,” she said, Hawaii News Now reported.
Police said the fire department and Coast Guard searched for the missing woman and at 8 a.m., nearly six hours after the tragic fall, her body was found approximately four miles offshore near Honolulu Landing in Pāhoa. .
Reyes Kanekoa was transported to Hilo Medical Center, where she was pronounced deceased at 10:58 a.m., according to a police statement.
An autopsy determined the manner and cause of death to be accidental drowning. Police said no foul play was suspected. People reported.
Police told the news outlet that an investigation is underway and they are awaiting toxicology reports.
The site where Kings fell on the coast of Puna on the Hawaiian island
Gapp called his love “a loving and caring person.”
‘She loved her children more than anything. She had a lot of fun. Lots of joy in life. She was always laughing, laughing,” she said.
TO GoFundMe was created to help raise funds for Keankekoa’s funeral. As of Friday morning, almost $3,000 has been raised toward their goal of $8,000.
Friends expressed their pain on social media sharing how much Reyes Kanekoa touched their lives.
‘My sweet and beautiful friend, you were the first friend I ever had. Fly high with the angels, rest easy, my beautiful friend.’
Another friend wrote: ‘She will always remain in the hearts of all of us who loved and appreciated her deeply. Kala’i was a light and she shared that light with everyone.’
‘I thank all the powers that be for having been able to meet her in life. May she rest in the same light and love that she gave to others.’