A Hawaiian honeymoon turned to tragedy earlier this month when one of the newlyweds died after an incident at a beach in O’ahu.
His new bride was also robbed of her bag and everything in it — including the keys to their rental car — while bystanders attempted to resuscitate him.
Steven Phan, 49, from San Jose, California, had been snorkeling with his wife at Electric Beach in Nānākuli on June 1 when something went wrong, witnesses told Nexstar’s KHON. Bystanders pulled him from the water unresponsive and performed CPR on the beach.
Honolulu Emergency Medical Services responded to a 911 call at 10:27 a.m. concerning the incident. First responders transported Phan to a hospital where he later died, KHON reported.
The honeymoon tragedy continued when Phan’s wife discovered that someone had stolen her backpack, driver’s license, rental car keys, and rental car from Electric Beach. The thief snatched the wife’s belongings while she was watching CPR being performed on her husband, a witness said.
Honolulu police are investigating a theft and auto theft related to the incident.
Phan worked for Apple in Cupertino and celebrated his wedding day on March 20, a friend said. His wife was identified by the friend as Brittany Myers Phan.
A GoFundMe page for the Phans has been organized to cover funeral and memorial costs.
“I met the wife,” a witness told KHON. “They were there on their honeymoon, just the two of them. As if the tragedy itself wasn’t difficult enough, now she has to go through the logistics … because she can’t travel back to home without an ID. She has to go through the due process at the airport to verify. It’s a mess.”
“I’m still kind of shaky inside just thinking, oh my God, they’re honeymooners. It’s supposed to be happy,” said Rhonda Aquino, a local Waipahu resident. “I feel so sad inside, like, [I] cannot believe still.”
Electric Beach is a popular spot for snorkeling on the west side of O’ahu.
Aquino, who grew up going to Electric Beach, said it can be dangerous if you’re not familiar with the area. “The current gets strong here,” Aquino cautioned.
Electric Beach has been growing in popularity among tourists because of social media, but it does not have a lifeguard, Aquino said. City Councilmember Andrea Tupola said the city will be adding a lifeguard stand and the necessary staffing to the area in early September.