Paddle Boarder Rescued by Passing Sailboat in Lahaina

December 27, 2013, 6:40 PM HST · Updated December 28, 12:49 PM
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By Wendy Osher

A 21-year-old visitor from Boston is safe after being rescued by a passing sailboat after running into difficulty while paddle boarding in West Maui.

A search for the woman was launched at around 2:25 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 27, when firefighters received the report.

The woman was part of a larger group of six friends who rented paddle boards from the beach equipment rental booth fronting the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa in Lahaina, according to department reports.

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The five others made it to shore with the assistance of the vendor after they began experiencing difficulty with the wind, but the missing woman got separated from the group and was blown downwind, said Maui Fire Captain Paul Haʻake.

According to department reports, she was last seen at around 2 p.m. near the jet ski platform off of Hanakaʻōʻō Beach.

Ocean Safety began the search with a Jetski at Hanakaʻōʻō.  Firefighters joined in by launching the Lahaina Station’s Rescue Boat 3 from Māla Wharf.  The department also utilized the Air 1 helicopter from Kahului due to poor visibility.

Shortly after the search was initiated, the rescue team was notified by the Maui Police Department’s Central Dispatch that the sailboat “Bliss” had picked up a female stand up paddler.

The missing person’s name and description was confirmed by Coast Guard personnel and the search was ended at 3:10 p.m., said Capt. Haʻake. The paddle boarder was brought to Māla wharf in good condition, he said.

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