While devoting all available assets in a sea search for a Moloka’i mariner, Coast Guard and Maui Fire and Rescue crews diverted for a search after reports of swimmers in distress off Olowalu Sunday in West Maui.
At 12:50 p.m., a caller reported that four swimmers were in distress about 500 yard offshore at Mile Marker 14 (between the two palm trees) at Olowaku along Honoapi’ilani Highway, an extremely popular snorkel spot. Maui Fire Department units Engine 3, Ladder 3, Rescue Boat 10 and Air-1 and Ocean Safety’s Rescue water craft, JS-3 responded. The caller stated the parties were last seen about 500 yards from shore, and that they had not seen anyone emerge from that area.
Rescue units arrived on scene and began a search. Air-1 and Rescue Boat 3 launched an ocean search. Maui Police officers also on scene began canvassing the shore. Coast Guard responded with two vessels and a helicopter diverted from a search off the Big Island. A high wind advisory and high surf advisory were both in effect at the time – adding to the difficulty of the search.
Crews conducted the search until 6 p.m., then suspended the search, pending receipt of further information. No one reported or confirmed anyone missing. The Coast Guard helicopter returned to the Big Island search for missing mariner Ron Ingraham.