Practice Areas

$2M in Seven Sacred Pools Settlement

KHNL8

When a California man was swept to his death in a stream near Hana, Maui, his family sued. They argued park rangers should have done more to warn them about the danger. Now the federal government has agreed to a $2 million settlement.

Kevin Oakley, 41, was in Haleakala National Park with his wife and two children in August of 2003. They were swimming in one of the seven sacred pools near Hana when Oakley and his seven-year-old son were washed down stream and into the ocean. A bystander jumped in and saved the boy, but Oakley drowned.

An attorney for the Oakley family says park rangers should have known there was too much water flowing down the stream that day to allow visitors near the water.

"The pools should have been closed to visitors and clearly everybody should have been ordered out of the pool," said attorney Wayne Kekina.

A spokesman for the park tells us the rangers take visitor safety very seriously and there are ongoing efforts to improve safety and warning systems at the pools.