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Hawaii tourist dies on Maui beach, and wife alleges state failed to warn her about snorkeling danger

A Michigan lady claims her husband’s loss of life might have been prevented by an consciousness marketing campaign about a little-known snorkeling danger, in accordance to her lawsuit in opposition to the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the Hawaii Visitors Convention Bureau.

Officially, 64-year-old Ray Johnson’s reason behind loss of life in February 2022 was dominated drowning, the main reason behind loss of life for vacationers in Hawaii, by a coroner, in accordance to Patti Johnson’s lawsuit.

But her lawyer, Jay Stuemke, advised Fox News Digital the skilled snorkeler’s final moments didn’t resemble a conventional drowning in any respect. 

“He told a friend, ‘I’m having trouble breathing,’ and they tried to bring him in,” Stuemke stated Wednesday. “A friend helped him to shore, but he died on the beach [in Maui.]” 

“He told a friend, ‘I’m having trouble breathing,’ and they tried to bring him in,” Stuemke stated Wednesday. “A friend helped him to shore, but he died on the beach [in Maui.]” 

“Hypoxia induced by Rapid Onset Pulmonary Edema (ROPE) is the cause of some, probably most, snorkel related fatal and near fatal drownings,” the research’s authors wrote of their interim report, which is cited in Johnson’s lawsuit.

Stuemke stated ready three days after disembarking from their aircraft earlier than donning a snorkel can vastly cut back the chance of “preventable death.” 

“There’s barely a minute in my life that goes by that I don’t think about him,” stated Patti Johnson, in accordance to ABC7.

Patti Johnson and her husband.
Patti Johnson claims her husband’s loss of life might have been prevented by an consciousness marketing campaign about a little-known snorkeling danger, in accordance to her lawsuit.
Patti Johnson through ABC7

Generally, vacationers fly no less than 5 hours to get to Hawaii, in accordance to the research, and on condition that airplanes are pressurized at an equal of up to 8,500 toes elevation, “the permeability of the lung’s membranes may be affected in a way that predisposes toward the development of ROPE.”

“Ray should’ve been told that he was at particular risk of this for a variety of reasons, including the fact that he’d just flown in,” Stuemke stated. “They were going to be in there for two weeks. His wife has told me if they knew about this safety study and what it said, they would just hang out by the pool and drink Mai Tais for a couple days.

“Most people don’t just come in for a weekend to snorkel. They come for a period of time and have a number of things they want to do,” Steumke stated. “If they’re told they should wait, they will.”

Ray Johnson in an undated picture.
64-year-old Ray Johnson’s reason behind loss of life in February 2022 was dominated drowning, in accordance to Patti Johnson’s lawsuit.
Patti Johnson through ABC7

But in accordance to Johnson’s lawsuit, Hawaii’s tourism authority and different teams have achieved little to forewarn vacationers “despite having knowledge of the risks and ready-to-use warnings at hand from this industry-funded study.” 

“The [tourism authority hasn’t] shared those warnings. They aren’t prominently featured on any website or featured in any brochures or videos or anything,” Stuemke stated.

Between 2012 and 2021, 184 vacationers died in snorkeling accidents in contrast to simply 20 native residents.

According to Johnson's lawsuit, Hawaii's tourism authority and other groups have done little to forewarn tourists "despite having knowledge of the risks and ready-to-use warnings at hand from this industry-funded study."
According to Johnson’s lawsuit, Hawaii’s tourism authority and different teams have achieved little to forewarn vacationers “despite having knowledge of the risks and ready-to-use warnings at hand from this industry-funded study.”
Mikel Allica – inventory.adobe.com

“It’s impossible on autopsy to determine if someone died by a traditional drowning or this sudden onset pulmonary edema,” Stuemke stated. “Either way there’s fluid in your lungs and a lack of oxygen.”

Two components make ROPE deaths extra frequent for snorkelers than these collaborating in different water actions, in accordance to the 2017 research — the swimmer’s inclined place within the water and the slim tube of their snorkels, which creates resistance to inhalation. 

Dr. Foti wrote in his findings that “[g]enerally, the simpler the snorkel the less resistance it generated.”

Patti Johnson and her husband in an undated picture.
“There’s barely a minute in my life that goes by that I don’t think about him,” stated Patti Johnson. Patti Johnson through ABC7

However, “other factors, sometimes not visible, such as the size at the narrowest opening or the design of the valves, made visual determination of resistance unreliable.”

The Hawaii House of Representatives tried to go a invoice that may require first responders to file information on the kinds of snorkels utilized by vacationers who drowned through the exercise. But the invoice was by no means handed, in accordance to the Hawaii State Legislature web site. 

The kind of masks and snorkel used have been solely recorded in 16% of snorkeling-related deaths, Foti wrote. 

While a full face masks was utilized in 5 of those circumstances and a conventional two-piece masks was utilized in eleven, the 2017 research famous that full face masks can’t be eliminated in pressing conditions, and customers can’t “spit” their snorkel out to enhance their respiratory.

Ray said he was difficulty breathing after snorkeling. He shortly died after being brought back to the beach, according to reports.
Ray stated he was problem respiratory after snorkeling. He shortly died after being introduced again to the seashore, in accordance to studies. Patti Johnson/Facebook

Stuemke stated Patti had begun to print small playing cards with particulars about ROPE.

In doing so, she “has been, in a very real way, doing more to try to educate about this than what the state of Hawaii and the tourism industry have done.”

“Any time she hears someone is going on a snorkeling trip, she gives someone one of these cards and says, ‘Please, don’t let what happened to Ray happen to you. Wait awhile and follow these other tips,’” Stuemke stated. 

The Hawaii Tourism Authority, Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui and Accor Management didn’t reply to a request for remark on the pending lawsuit. 

Prospective snorkelers can study extra about ROPE at http://www.snorkelsafetystudy.org. 

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