Search for Fall Victim to End at Sunset
Search crews with the Maui Department of Fire and Public Safety plan to conclude search efforts at sunset today if an aerial search this afternoon does not produce any new sightings of a missing hiker.
The department is now on its third day of search for the 20-year-old missing man who reportedly fell 20-feet from the sea cliffs along the Puka Maui Trail in East Maui on Tuesday.
A large surf swell hampered initial search efforts, but divers and were able to conduct underwater searches of a lava tube on Wednesday when surf dropped to 6-8 feet. T
he body of the 20-year-old male victim was last seen washing up onto the rocks at the location on Tuesday afternoon, before he was pulled back into the water by the swell–but crews have not seen any sign of the man since.
Authorities say a fire rescue boat and two ocean safety watercraft had to remain at least 400 yards from the shoreline because of the large winter swells crashing on the rocks.
Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said rescue crews have not found the victim’s body nor have they seen any personal items belonging to the victim.
Crews aboard the fire department helicopter expanded their search area beyond where the victim was last seen, but department officials say nothing has turned up.
Ocean conditions were still rough and water visibility very poor from stream runoff this morning so only aerial searches were conducted, according to FSC Taomoto.
Department officials say a new northwest swell is expected to start building to warning levels late Thursday and into Friday, making recovery efforts very dangerous in this remote area.