Bay City News

Berkeley Father, 6-Year-Old Daughter Drown in Hawaii Tidepool

A Berkeley father and his 6-year-old daughter both drowned while visiting Hawaii on Saturday, the father when he jumped in the water to save his struggling daughter, local officials said.

Mark Hornor, 46, and his 6-year-old daughter Mina were visiting the Makapu'u Tidepools on the eastern side of Oahu on Saturday morning while on a trip to the island to visit family, according to Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokeswoman Shayne Enright.

The tide pools are down a short paved path that requires a hike. The area was windy on the day of the accident, Enright said.

A large wave is believed to have knocked Mina out and then Hornor tried to rescue her, but, in an instant, a series of rogue waves swept them both out, officials said. 

Matthew Hornor, the victim's brother, said Mark Hornor may have most recently called the Bay Area home, but he had lived in Hawaii for years and knew the dangers of the water. In fact, the attorney and avid bicyclist was carefully guarding his three daughters during their vacation.

"It wasn't like there were rough waves and Mark wasn't risking anything or being reckless," Matthew Hornor said.

A stranger, who was also in the tidepools, helped save Mark Hornor's older daughters, who are 8 and 12 years old. They survived by "clinging to rocks," Matthew Hornor said, adding that his brother "didn't know another wave was coming."

Matthew Hornor continued: "Then the second wave came. That’s what brought Mark and Mina out to the water."

At about 11:20 a.m., emergency services received 911 calls reporting two people in distress in the water. Lifeguards responded on personal watercrafts and found Hornor, bringing him back to nearby Sandy Beach Park, Enright said.

They then went back and found Mina and brought her back to Sandy Beach as well. The lifeguards performed CPR on them as they were taken to a hospital, but they both died there later that day.

Cell phone video show lifeguards pulling the father and daughter from the water, but it was too late.

"I think he just died of exhaustion, trying to get to her," Matthew Hornor said.

He also believe it took too long for emergency responders to get to the beach and to Mark and Mina Hornor's aid.

"In those critical moments, if they would have been closer," it could have been a "totally different story for both of them," Matthew Hornor said.

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