At 11:51 a.m. Sunday, March 4, emergency crews in West Maui responded to another ocean rescue call, this time for a person swept into the water near Punalau Beach, commonly known as Windmills Beach.
A lifeguard rescue watercraft responding from a previous Oneloa Beach incident arrived on the scene of the second rescue call at about 12:15 p.m. Lifeguards spotted a male floating unresponsive in the water 150 feet from shore and about a half-mile west of Windmills Beach.
Firefighters and lifeguards recovered the man and transported him by watercraft to D.T. Fleming Beach Park where crews began CPR and advanced life-saving measures. However, despite all efforts the victim could not be revived and died at the scene.
The victim is a 56-year-old Napili man. He was opihi picking on the shoreline with a 28-year-old male relative when he was knocked off the rocks by a wave. Someone watching from the cliff above saw what was happening and called for help.
The relative tried to help the victim get back up onto the rocks but couldn’t, so he went to call for help. The victim was last seen treading water before rescue crews got to him.
Sunday’s incident marks the 13th ocean related fatality this year.
An engine company and a fire rescue boat from Lahaina, along with D.T. Fleming Beach Park lifeguards responded to the ocean rescue. Paramedics from Maalaea and Lahaina also responded.