Just after 12 p.m. on Wednesday, West Maui firefighters and aviation units responded to reports of two people in the ocean needing assistance at the Olivine Pools near mile marker 16 on Kahekili Highway.
Kahului rescue crews aboard the fire department’s Air-1 helicopter arrived and spotted one male floating on a boogie board and another male floating face down and unresponsive about 75 yards from shore.
Rescue crews airlifted both men to the Kahekili Highway where CPR was initiated on the unresponsive male.
Napili firefighters arrived shortly after and assisted with resuscitation of the victim until paramedics could arrive.
The victim has been identified by MFD as a 33-year-old man from Waiehu. He was rushed by ambulance to Maui Memorial Medical Center in critical condition.
The second male, a 38-year-old Honokowai man, did not require medical attention.
Battalion Chief Taomoto said in a media release that the two men were picking opihi together on the rocks at the shoreline when a large wave knocked the Waiehu man into the ocean. The man was conscious and was attempting to make his way back to shore when the friend jumped in to help him.
At some point, the two men became separated in the rough, choppy waters and the victim became unresponsive.
Bystanders visiting at the Olivine Pools heard the mens’ call for help and threw them three boogie boards to help them stay afloat, but the Waiehu man was not able to get to it.