According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (11/25/14), the tourism industry in Waikiki was in the line of verbal fire from tourists complaining about the condition of the shoreline, which appeared to be dwindling. As a result, the state brought in sand to augment a 1,700-foot-long stretch of beach between the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Kuhio Beach crib wall. The augmentation cost the state $2.5 million. However, when completed, tourists openly praised the restored beach area.
The problem, according to two neck injury compensation claims, is that officials failed to warn returning tourists and the general public that such augmentation could and indeed is alleged to have raised the sea floor, making it shallower than it was.
For tourists and residents accustomed to diving toward the seabed safely, the change presents a potentially catastrophic risk.
And so it was that when Marc Tablit, a 26-year-old welder from Ewa Beach, dove into the waters off Waikiki in a fashion to which he was accustomed prior to the beach restoration the man suffered severe and catastrophic injuries. His back and neck injury lawsuit notes that he had dove into the same waters the year prior with no difficulty.
Today, Tablit is limited to only slight movement in his right hand from the neck down.
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Chung’s neck injury attorney said the state had a duty to inform returning tourists and local residents about the potential for murky water and a shallower seabed than what they may have been used to in the past.
According to the report, both back and neck injury lawsuits seek unspecified damages and allege the Department of Land and Natural Resources for Hawaii had been warned prior to the beach restoration project that the addition of 24,000 cubic tons of sand to the beach area would impact both the depth and the clarity of the water.