Oklahoma visitor dies of apparent drowning while breaking 14-day passenger quarantine


Oklahoma visitor dies of apparent drowning while breaking 14-day passenger quarantine

An Oklahoma visitor who apparently drowned Wednesday at Spitting Caves died 10 days into the 14-day mandatory self-quarantine that he was supposed to complete.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man as Kristopher Michael Oliphant, 39, of Tulsa, Okla. A cause of death was not immediately available.

Jessica Lani Rich, president and CEO of the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, said Oliphant arrived in Hawaii on June 7 and told authorities that he intended to complete his quarantine at a Waikiki hotel. Instead, he checked out of the hotel early and broke quarantine.

“We were called to assist in this case,” Rich said. “It was very sad.”

Honolulu Emergency Medical Services reported Wednesday that a fisherman found an unresponsive man in the water just after 5 p.m. and called 911. Ocean Safety personnel brought Oliphant into Maunalua Bay, where they pronounced his death.

EMS and the Honolulu Fire Department responded to a call regarding Oliphant just after 5 p.m. HFD reported his drowning around 5:40 p.m.

VASH helps visitors in distress. Since April 6, the nonprofit also has been running the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s COVID-19 Flight Assistance Program, which helps visitors who are unable to complete the quarantine or who have violated it return home.

“Today we sent four visitors home to Houston, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York. Earlier this week, we sent home 21 members of the cult Carbon Nation,” Rich said. “It’s been my busiest week ever.”

Despite publicity about Hawaii’s quarantine for out-of-state passengers and crackdowns, Rich said most of visitors that she deals with knowingly have run afoul of the emergency orders.

“They know about it. They just don’t intend to honor it,” Rich said.

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