On Tuesday morning, May 9, 2017, firefighters rescued a male kayaker that had been stranded overnight on a remote shoreline in the Nahiku area of East Maui.
Hana firefighters received the call at 6:36 a.m. that someone was flashing a light to signal for help about a quarter-mile west of Nahiku Landing. Firefighters arrived at 7:10 a.m. and spotted a man waving his arms in distress.
The fire department’s Air-1 helicopter was brought in and landed on the shoreline. A rescue crew from Kahului discovered that the man was uninjured and safely airlifted him to Nahiku Landing at 7:50 a.m. He did not require medical attention.
A couple visiting from the mainland was at the landing watching the morning sunrise when they noticed a flashing light being directed at them. After seeing the man waving for help, they walked back to their nearby vacation rental and called 911.
The kayaker, 32-year-old Makawao man had launched from Nahiku Landing by himself on Monday afternoon. At some point the winds and ocean swells picked up drastically, and he broke his paddle trying to navigate back to the landing. He drifted downwind, eventually washing up on the remote rocky shoreline. He was not able to walk out because of the sheer cliffs and couldn’t use his cell phone because there was no signal. When he saw the couple early Tuesday morning, he used the light from his cell phone to get their attention.