Last week, a visitor from Florida had to be rescued by helicopter after a fall and injury took place at Queens Bath on North Shore Kauai. The visitor had trespassed forbidden grounds on the beautiful picturesque natural attraction of Kauai. This is starting to raise into question among locals on whether they should keep paying for such misdemeanors leading to expensive helicopter rescues, or if the perpetrators should bear the costs for their own actions.
The Queen’s Bath is one of Princeville’s top attractions. A wonderful brief climb past a cascade drives down to a rough scene of igneous rock. An additional brief trip over lopsided rocks prompts the view of the waterfall. Generally the size of a huge pool, the Queen’s Bath is a characteristic tide pool with water coming from volcanic grounds.
Albeit the landscape and the waterfall are a charming journey for proficient explorers, in the same way as other sea attractions on Kauai the region should be approached with caution. Visiting the Queen’s Bath without valuing the potential risks can be very dangerous and accidents are far from rare.
Approximately 30 people have died at Queen’s Bath and countless injured. Water cliffs can be quite dangerous and Queen’s Bath is not an exception, just last month a tourist died while cliff diving off the south coast of Kauai.
The problem arises when many of these are irresponsible visitors are breaking the rules of the location, approaching without proper care, or underestimating the danger. The problem compounds in as several warning signs were installed as a response to these constant deaths and injuries, but nonetheless visitors are actively ignoring or trespassing these dangerous areas for the sake of the perfect Instagram picture.
Due to the nature of the location of the falling and drowning victims, many of these accidents can only be rescued by expensive helicopter rescuing operations. Just in January this year, three people had to be rescued by helicopter from Queen’s Bath. Also just last year a man was rescued by helicopter after trespassing, falling and suffering several head injuries at Wailua Falls.
These constant acts of trespassing are prompting locals to argue for new legislation that will redirect the costs of the rescue to the victim trespassers, instead of being subsidized by the taxpayer, as apparently each single rescue costs approximately $47,000.
Hawaii is just another state that is considering adopting such regulation, as 6 other states have already approved measures to heavily fine or redirect search and rescue costs to the victims in case they were found guilty of trespassing. Each state has their own laws regarding fines and rescue plans but it should be noted that trespassing forbidden to unauthorized areas can make your bill way more expensive than expected.
There are some insurance programs for those situations. States such as Colorado and Utah already have active insurance programs in which you pay for for it and you won’t need to worry about being charged later, but these are not yet available in Hawaii.
Hawaii’s extreme nature makes tourism a delicate thing. Just recently, a strong rip current swept away 300 people into de open sea. From steep cliffs to strong waves and dangerous hikings and snow and storm advisories; Hawaii is really a unpredictable place regarding it’s nature, so beware of it is a must during a trip.
It’s important to know that these signs are there for a reason. Many geological experts are involved in selecting which places are safe and which aren’t, so it’s not something made out of the blue. It requires studies to know can you visit a nature spot without taking the plunge of falling or anything else, as rescue can be difficult and costly, besides putting your life at risk.
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