PLR 23-020 - Off-Duty Sports, Recreation, and Physical Training Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life
A 27-year-old Private First Class assigned to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, died in an off-duty water-related mishap 30 December 2022 in Maunalua Bay, Hawaii, at 1630 local. The Soldier was swimming with friends and did not return to shore. When his friends could not locate him, they called emergency services. The Honolulu Fire Department arrived at the scene and found the Soldier about 15 feet below the surface on the ocean floor. Emergency services attempted to resuscitate the Soldier but were unsuccessful and pronounced him dead. The Honolulu Police Department (HPD) notified the staff duty officer of the mishap. The unit/safety points of contact are waiting for the HPD to release its final report.
Since 2018, the Army has lost an average of seven Soldiers a year to off-duty water-related mishaps. This mishap was the first off-duty water-related fatality of FY23.
Beneath the ocean’s beautiful blue surface, conditions can be unpredictable and even fatal. Ocean safety experts recommend checking with lifeguards before you enter the water to determine potential hazards like rip currents, hidden rocks and shorebreaks. Then you can experience the majesty of the ocean, with reverence and respect for its awesome power.
•Only undertake ocean activities when a lifeguard is present or go with professional and certified watermen.
•Check conditions before you go out to look for ocean hazards such as rip currents, rocks, and shorebreaks.
•Swim with a buddy.
•Know your limits and don’t push beyond your abilities.
•It’s important that you know how to swim if you go snorkeling, and at the very minimum wear a flotation device.
•If in doubt, don’t go out.
•Wave heights can increase quickly. If they do, dive underneath the wave, come up behind it, and then swim to shore between wave sets.
•Do not go into the ocean under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which greatly increase your risk of drowning.
•If you are caught in a rip current, remain calm and go with the flow – don't fight the current. Once the rip current releases you offshore, swim at an angle away from the current, toward the shore, and call or signal for help.