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Boat Captain Enters Not Guilty Plea in Death of Lana’i Diver

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   March 15th, 2012 · 1 Disqus Comment ·
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Arraignment and plea of Eric J. Olbrich. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

A Maui man entered a not-guilty plea today in 2nd Circuit Court to felony charges stemming from the July 31, 2011 death of a diver off Lanai.

Eric J. Olbrich was arraigned on the charges of manslaughter and careless operation of a vessel.

He requested a jury trial, which has since been set for June 4, 2012.

Judge Joseph Cardoza also ordered Olbrich to refrain in the interim from operating any water vessel or water craft as a condition.

Judge Joseph E. Cardoza courtroom, photo by Wendy Osher.

The charges stem from the death of 51-year-old Lanai City resident, Alan Amoncio, who was free diving just outside of the break wall at Kaumalapau Harbor when he was struck by the propellers of a zodiac boat, according to police reports.

Amancio was reported to be diving with his dive flag attached to his body, according to Maui police.

Police reports also indicate that Amoncio’s wife, Kittrick Hamilton-Amoncio tried to get the attention of the boat.  At the time, she related to authorities that she was about 50 to 70 feet away from her husband when she saw the zodiac quickly approaching the harbor’s entrance.

Police had ruled out the involvement of alcohol on the driver of the boat.  According to police reports, the boat captain immediately stopped the boat and jumped into the ocean to check on Amoncio.

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  • Christa 1

    Sometimes tragic accidents happen. Should people slow down and pay closer attention, YES! Should there be reminders for boaters that there are divers in the water around them YES. I believe he should be held responsible, however an accident is an accident. I am a diver, and I ALWAYS check for boats CONSTANTLY around me. If anything is remotely close, I don’t ascend.  It is easier for us to see them, than it is for them to see us, often. Perhaps boats should be of limits to areas highly populated with divers?? Not sure what the answer is, but something tells me this was not intentional. Maybe the man responsible can provide some community work to bring awareness to divers (on top of whatever the judge and jury see fit as punishment). 


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