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Visitor Swept into the Ocean at Nakalele Blowhole

At 12:41 p.m. on Saturday, July 29, 2017, emergency crews in West Maui responded to the Nakalele Blowhole near mile marker 38 on the Kahekili Highway after an adult male was swept into the ocean by a wave.

A lifeguard on a rescue watercraft arrived at around 1 p.m. and found the male floating face down and lifeless about 200 feet from shore. Soon after, the fire department’s Air-1 helicopter arrived and rescue swimmers were deployed into the water to assist lifeguard personnel with recovering the victim.

The male victim was airlifted to a grassy area off of the Kahekili Highway and transferred to paramedics at 1:22 p.m. The victim could not be resuscitated and died at the scene.

The male victim, a 48-year-old visitor from Ontario, Canada, was lying on the rocks near the water’s edge when he was washed into the ocean by a large wave. The man was reportedly swimming and staying afloat, but at some point became unresponsive.

Ocean Safety lifeguards from D.T. Fleming Beach Park, a fire battalion chief and firefighters from Napili and Kahului responded to the ocean incident.

The Maui Fire Department would like to remind ocean users of a few safety tips when enjoying the coastline near cliff areas:

  • If the rocks are wet, it means ocean waves are reaching that area so use caution and stay in dry areas.
  • Even when it’s dry, ocean waves can still reach you, so be vigilant. Large unexpected waves referred to as, “Rogue Waves,” often times come out of nowhere and can cause injury or death.
  • Never turn your back to the ocean. Always keep a watchful eye for potential incoming ocean waves.

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