Authorities have suspended their search for a Vallejo man who is presumed drowned after being swept out to sea by a rogue wave on Hawaii’s Kauai Island on Friday.
Brian Baker, 47, was pulled into the ocean while hiking with four other people near South Kalihiwai Point on the island’s north shore late Friday afternoon, according to the Kauai Fire Department.
Baker’s friend, 46-year-old San Francisco resident Adam Griffiths, dove in to try to save him but was also overcome by the surf. Griffiths’ body was found Saturday morning.
After three days, local fire officials today decided to end their search for Baker.
“With no signs of Mr. Baker’s body over the course of the past three days and extremely hazardous ocean conditions expected to continue today, we have decided to suspend the active search,” Kauai Fire Chief Robert Westerman said in a statement.
“Our hearts and deepest sympathy go out to the families of both men,” Westerman said.
Baker and Griffiths were with Baker’s girlfriend, Griffiths’ fiance and another friend, said Taber Shadburne, a friend of Baker’s who posted on Facebook a picture of the group that had been taken earlier on Friday.
Shadburne said Baker had taken the group to a special spot he liked, and was the furthest out on the rocks when the wave hit.
The deaths have been a big shock, and friends gathered both Sunday and Monday to mourn the pair, Shadburne said.
A memorial is planned for Wednesday at an “Ecstatic Dance” event at the Tropicana Nightclub at 1933 Broadway in Oakland.
Tyler Blank, director of the Ecstatic Dance–described by Shadburne as “a big free-form hippie dance”–said Baker was the sound healing coordinator at the events and worked with many other musicians.
Blank said Baker was “an amazingly bright and optimistic and loving person. He always had a magic twinkle in his eye.”
Wednesday’s event, which runs from 7 to 11:30 p.m., will end with a half-hour of musicians playing while friends share memories of the pair.
Blank said he expects up to 300 people to come and pay their respects.
“He’ll be missed,” he said. “It just reminds us to live our dreams now, and not wait to share love and to be enthusiastic and optimistic about life.”
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News
Picture of the site of the drownings courtesy of the Kauai Fire Department