A Berkeley father described by family as an ‘avid surfer’ died Saturday morning while trying to save his young daughter after she was swept away by waves on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, police said.
Mark Hornor, 46, was walking with daughter Mina along the rocky edge of the Makapuu Tide Pools at around 11:20am when witnesses say a wave knocked her into the roiling surf. Hornor leaped in to rescue her but both were lost to the current.
‘His body was lifeless just like the little girl,’ Jamie DeMatoff, who saw lifeguards futilely giving CPR to the pair, told Hawaii News Now. ‘My heart just sank just watching this happen.’
Tragic: Mark Hornor (left), 46, drowned while saving daughter Mina (left), 6, after she was swept into water off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Oahu Saturday morning. A second wave carried them both out to sea
Although the father was a physically fit surf fanatic, he was unable to stop a second wave carrying both him and his daughter out to sea.
‘There was a huge wave that just swept everybody, all the tide pools and it pulled those two people out and kept taking them further out and further out,’ witness Jamie Ngo told Khon 2.
‘They were conscious at first, but I think the longer that they were out there, the waves were pretty brutal.’
Mina’s two sisters were also knocked into the water, but were rescued by a passer-by, Scott Kaito of Kailua, who pulled them to safety.
‘It was just an instinct,’ Kato told Khon 2. ‘I’m a father. I have sons, and I mean I kind of knew they were in there because at that point there was another couple groups that were there.
‘But some people just got out so I just kind of knew that it was a family in there. So I just kind of jumped in.’
He added that the sea looked calm until the wave struck.
Hornor’s brother, Matthew, told Hawaii News Now that Mark Hornor didn’t think twice about trying to rescue his girl.
‘He was just a fantastic human being, he jumped in tried to save her,’ he said. ‘And I don’t think he wanted to come back empty handed.’
Lifeguards raced to the pair on jet skis and took them to a nearby beach to perform CPR, but it was no use – they were both declared dead at a hospital some time later.
Mark Hornor’s wife, Jessamy, is from Hawaii.
In the wake of the tragic deaths, officials warned visitors to be careful while visiting the tide pools, which are a popular spot for visitors.
‘On a day like today, it wasn’t for families down there,’ Shayne Enright a spokeswoman for the city Emergency Services Department, said.
‘Conditions were not favorable. It’s too windy, there’s a High Surf Advisory. It’s extremely dangerous.’
Accidents at the tide pools are not uncommon.
In 2011 another father and daughter drowned in the tide pools, last month a teen was seriously injured when a wave knocked her over, and in 2015 a 12-year-old was seriously injured.
The bodies of both father and daughter are now being examined to confirm the cause of death.
Rescue: Lifeguards tried to rescue the pair on jet skis (pictured) and performed CPR on a nearby beach, but they were unable to revive them.
James Wilkinson via Daily Mail | Photos: Hawaii News Now, Getty Images, bcsecure01-a.akamaihd.net
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