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HONOLULU (AP) — The son of a Honolulu firefighter who died in training last year has filed a lawsuit against the city.

The son filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Monday on behalf of his father, 63-year-old Cliff Rigsbee, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (

Rigsbee was on a sled being towed by a water rescue craft on June 14 last year, at which point the Honolulu medical examiner said he suffered blunt force injuries to his head and neck, fracturing vertebrae and injuring his spinal cord.

Rigsbee was towed over the top of three waves 8 feet (2.4 meters) high or taller before the driver turned and saw him floating face-down, motionless, the lawsuit stated.

Other firefighters, including one who was off duty and surfing nearby, took Rigsbee to shore. He died two days later at a nearby hospital.

The Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division issued the fire department two citations for the incident and a $15,400 fine.

The city did not respond to requests for comment.


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser,