Waiehu Man Critically Inured in Opihi Picking Accident
A 33-year-old Waiehu man suffered critical injuries in an opihi picking accident at the area often referred to as the “Olivine Pools” in Kahakuloa on Wednesday afternoon.
West Maui firefighters responded to reports of two people in the ocean needing assistance at the location, near Mile 16 of the Kahekili Highway.
The incident was reported at 12:07 p.m. on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, and a Kahului rescue crew aboard the fire department’s Air-1 helicopter arrived at around 12:30 p.m.
Upon arrival, first responders spotted one male floating on a boogie board and another male floating face down and unresponsive about 75 yards from shore.
Rescue crews airlifted both men to the Kahekili Highway where CPR was initiated on the unresponsive man.
Nāpili firefighters arrived shortly after and assisted with resuscitation of the victim until paramedics arrived on scene.
The victim, a 33-year-old Maui man from Waiehu, was rushed by ambulance to Maui Memorial Medical Center in critical condition. The other male, a 38-year-old Honokōwai man, did not require medical attention.
Maui FireServices Chief Edward Taomoto said the two men were picking opihi together on the rocks at the shoreline when a large wave knocked the Waiehu man into the ocean. The man was conscious and was attempting to make his way back to shore when the friend jumped in to help him.
At some point, the two men became separated in the rough, choppy waters and the victim became unresponsive.
Bystanders visiting at the Olivine Pools heard the two call for help and threw them three boogie boards to help them stay afloat, but fire officials say the Waiehu man was not able to get to the boards.