Visitor Airlifted From Nakalele Blowhole
A 51-year-old man visiting from France was airlifted from the Nakalele Blow Hole in West Maui after being knocked down and injured by a large wave on Monday morning, fire officials said.
According to department reports, the man injured his leg and could not walk on it. Fire officials say the department’s Air-1 helicopter was dispatched to the scene because of difficulties in carrying the man up the rugged lava rock trail.
The incident was reported at 10:18 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015.
At 11:45 a.m., the man was airlifted to a grassy area next to the Kahekili Highway and transferred by medics to the Maui Memorial Medical Center in good condition, according to Maui Fire Services Officer Edward Taomoto.
Fire officials said the incident was a good reminder to always pay attention to ocean conditions.
Several years ago in July of 2011, a visitor was knocked over by a wave at the same site, fell into the blow hole, and his body was never recovered. At the time, the county’s advisory stated that “an obvious danger exists.”
In a department press release, officials offered the following 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.
Recent drone video taken at the Nākālele Blowhole in West Maui also raised some questions about visitor safety to the area and prompted a friendly reminder for everyone to be alert in our natural surroundings.