HALEIWA, OAHU — Many in Pacific County are mourning this week after the untimely death last Friday, Feb. 16, of Elizabeth Dalton, 47, popular wife of Naselle-Grays River Valley School District teaching veteran Rob Dalton.
The two were in Hawaii celebrating their 22nd anniversary when Elizabeth suffered an accident while snorkeling near Sharks Cove on the island’s North Shore.
According to local media accounts, she was found unresponsive and pulled back to the beach by family members around 12:30 p.m. An emergency crew responded and took her to a hospital in critical condition where she later died. Reports indicate she suffered a head injury in the water. EMS officials told Oahu media that Dalton was using a full snorkeling face mask at the time of the incident. Those types of masks have recently raised safety concerns after a spike in drownings in Maui waters, Hawaii media said.
Surf at the time was about 2 feet high. Sharks Cove has no lifeguard stations.
“Oahu’s three of four drownings this year have occurred at non-lifeguards beaches. We strongly warn to swim at lifeguarded beaches,” Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokeswoman Shayne Enright said.
Dalton’s death is a blow to close-knit Naselle-area residents.
“The valley communities are filled with sadness over the loss and are looking for ways to support the family,” school board member Nick Nikkila said.
Rob Dalton returned home Saturday evening to the couple’s four children: Parker, 17, Peyton, 14, Lukas, 10 and Addie, 8.
A fundraising effort at www.gofundme.com/together4daltons said, “Rob is currently teaching at the Naselle-Grays River Valley School District, an employee of 23 years. In addition to the emotional toll this will take on the family, he will be confronted with a multitude of expenses related to medical, transporting Elizabeth back home, and funeral/burial.”
Set up Monday with a goal of $15,000, by Tuesday morning the site had raised $14,495 in dozens of small donations.