HANA, MAUI – At 1:08 p.m. today, firefighters and police responded to a woman clinging to rocks in the ocean near Koki Beach in Hana. Turns out she was a 75 year-old visitor from Alaska who held on for dear life…and lived to tell about it.
The Hana fire crew arrived about 10 minutes later and spotted the woman holding onto rocks about 30 feet from the shoreline. Air 1 was dispatched because of large surf and rough ocean conditions. Firefighters walked down a cliff area and swam out with a surfboard to retrieve her. Once on shore, Air 1 was cancelled.
Two women, a 75-year-old from Anchorage, Alaska and a Maui resident, went swimming about ¼ mile north of Koki beach, when ocean conditions turned bad. The Maui woman made it to shore and called for help while the Alaska woman clung to the rocks until firefighters arrived. The Alaska visitor suffered only minor scrapes and declined medical treatment.
KAILUA, Maui – On Saturday April 4, at 3:07 p.m., Paia firefighters were called to rescue a man that had been swept off the rocks by a large wave and was in the ocean in an area known as ‘puka Maui’ in Kailua, on the East side of Maui.
Firefighters arrived at 3:35 and were informed by friends of the man; that he had swum around the point and was on shore in the next bay over. Friends had been trying for several hours to get to him, but were unable because of the steep terrain. That’s when they decided to call for help. The fire department’s Air 1 helicopter was called in, and a Kahului rescue crew airlifted the man to a landing zone set up on Hana highway.
The man had been hiking along with seven other friends on the Puka Maui trail off of Hana highway, when the man was knocked into the water by an unexpected wave as they were taking in the ocean scenery. Paia fire Captain Ben Bland, said there was a large easterly wind swell and ocean conditions were considered quite rough. The 18-year-old man, a Kahului resident, suffered only minor bumps and scraps, and declined to be seen by paramedics.
The Maui Fire Department would like to advise the public to be ever watchful when venturing anywhere near the waters edge. Ocean conditions can change in an instant, and if you’re not paying attention, an unexpected wave can sweep you off your feet and toss you into the water. You could be seriously injured or even killed, should you hit your head while being washed off of the jagged rocks. Please be aware of your surroundings and take precautions, so that we may never have to meet in this way, and you can enjoy all the beauty nature has to offer.
Some important safety tips to remember are – Never turn your back to the ocean. If someone is swept into the ocean, throw them anything that can be used as a floatation device, such as an ice cooler or its lid. Swim out, farther away from the crashing waves on the shoreline and wait for help or for emergency responders to arrive.
This latest incident comes a little over a month after a similar one, and bears strikingly similar circumstances to an ocean accident that ended tragically for two Maui teenagers on President’s day weekend, February 16 of this year, at the area known as ‘shoots and ladders’, in West Maui. In that incident, a Kahului woman was swept into the ocean by a wave and her male friend jumped in to save her. Both drowned before help arrived. The Kahului man in yesterday’s incident was very fortunate to have walked away with his life.
Three young women visiting from Sweden are lucky to be alive today after the vehicle they were in flipped and fell 80 feet down a cliff along Kahekili Highway on Maui’s northwest coast Monday.
By Jeff King
The pilot of a single engine Cirrus SR-22 aircraft that ran out of fuel is safe after ditching his aircraft 253 miles northeast of Maui Sunday.
At approximately 4:44 p.m. the pilot was able to deploy the aircraft’s airframe parachute system and safely exit the aircraft into a life raft. Maui TV News first reported the incident Sunday afternoon. Read that original report here.
Incredible images have been made public by the Coast Guard. Video shows the actual moment when the plane’s engine stopped, which was immediately followed by the deployment of an airframe parachute that allowed the craft to gently descend to the ocean’s surface. The footage changes from black and white to color to infrared and captures the entire rescue. The Cirrus SR-22 is one of few small planes certified to carry and deploy the airframe parachute. Coast Guard video proves it works. The pilot seems to land on the water like a feather, after which he climbs out the door and enters a life raft.
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu identified the cruise ship Veendam, en route to Lahaina, Maui, and coordinated the pilot’s ditch near their location. The Veendam’s name might sound familiar. In 2008 while docked in Lahaina Roads, the crew brought more than 100 mattresses ashore to be donated to Maui homeless shelters.
At 5:21 p.m. Sunday, the crew of the Veendam rescued the pilot. The pilot was reported to be in good condition. The plane was last observed partially submerged.
Weather conditions at the time of the rescue were seas of 9 to 12 feet and winds of 25 to 28 mph.
The Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Barbers Point assisted the pilot during the process of ditching his aircraft and maintained communications throughout the ditching process. The Hercules crew remained on scene until the pilot was safely aboard the Veendam. The C-130 left the area when other Coast Guard crews arrived by boat and helicopter. As a quirk of fate would have it, the C-130 was called to yet another incident where a small plane had ditched at sea between Kaua’i and O’ahu. Read that story here.
The flight originated in Tracy, California and was destined for Kahului Maui. According to Wikipedia, the Cirrus SR-22 has a range of 1,049 miles. The distance from Tracy, CA to Kahului is 2,389 miles. The half-million dollar plane may not be salvageable. Investigators will surely be curious how the pilot thought he’d be able to fly his plane the extra 1,340 miles with no fuel.
Sunday’s first rescue began at 12:30 p.m., when the pilot contacted the Hawaii National Guard and reported his aircraft had approximately three hours of fuel remaining and he would be ditching 230 miles north east of Maui.
A couple visiting from Canada were, literally, over their heads today during a snorkel outing at Black Rock Beach in Ka’anapali. At 3:38 p.m. today, Maui Fire and Rescue crews were called to the beach after reports of the couple calling for help. While emergency crews were on their way. A nearby family of four swam to the couple and offered an inner tube. That brought the total of people in trouble to six. Then another couple swam to try to help. Now it’s eight. The current was the reason. Running north, away from shore, all eight were now in peril and had floated out of sight.
Nearby stand up paddlers heard their cries and reached the group. They began bringing the stranded ashore, one-by-one. Before a second run could be made, Ocean Safety’s Rescue jet ski arrived and brought ashore the remaining swimmers. Fire personnel checked and the head count matched. All were accounted for. Medics on the beach assessed any medical needs. One of the six, a 61 year-old woman from Canada, was showing signs that concerned the medics. She declined transport and treatment.
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