NAKALELE POINT – A visitor from France owes his good condition this morning – and the perhaps his life – to Maui’s expert first responders. At 10:18 a.m. Monday morning, firefighters and ocean safety personnel responded to a possible ocean rescue at the Nakalele Blow Hole, in West Maui.
At 10:38 a.m. Napili firefighters arrived at the parking area to the Blow Hole trail. Friends of the victim said a large wave crashed over him and knocked the man down. The man injured his leg and could not walk on it.
The fire department’s Air 1 helicopter was dispatched because of difficulties in carrying the man up the rugged lava rock trail. When firefighters reached him, the man’s only complaint was his leg. Crews splinted his leg and prepped him to be airlifted.
At 11:45 a.m., a rescue crew aboard Air 1 airlifted the man to a grassy area next to Kahekili Highway, where he was transferred to paramedics. The man was taken to Maui Memorial medical Center in good condition.
The 51-year-old man visiting from France, was taking in the scenery at the Blow Hole with family and friends when the wave knocked him over.
The public is reminded to be vigilant when exploring anywhere near the shoreline. Today’s incident is a good reminder that you should always pay attention to ocean conditions. The gentleman was fortunate to have not been more seriously injured. A man was knocked by a wave into the Nakalele Blow Hole, years back. His body was never recovered.
Here are a few reminders when venturing near the waters edge.
- If the rocks are wet, that means ocean waves are reaching that area so use caution and stay in dry areas.
- Just because its dry, doesn’t mean ocean waves isn’t going to reach you, so be vigilant. Large unexpected waves, referred to as “Rogue Waves,” often times come out of nowhere, causing injury or death.
- Never turn your back to the ocean. Always keep a watchful eye for ocean swells.