Canadian Visitor Dies, Swept into Ocean at Nākālele, Maui

July 30, 2017, 7:15 AM HST · Updated July 31, 1:00 PM

A 48-year-old visitor from Ontario, Canada died after being swept into the ocean near the Nākālele Blowhole on Maui, Saturday afternoon.

Maui Now graphic.

According to fire department reports, the man was lying on the rocks near the water’s edge when he was washed into the ocean by a large wave.  The victim was reportedly swimming and staying afloat, but at some point became unresponsive.

Emergency crews in West Maui responded to an area near mile marker 38 on the Kahekili Highway after receiving the report at 12:41 p.m. on Saturday, July 29, 2017.

A lifeguard on a rescue watercraft arrived at around 1 p.m. and found the man floating face down and lifeless about 200 feet from shore.


Soon after, the fire department’s Air-1 helicopter arrived and rescue swimmers were deployed into the water to assist lifeguard personnel with recovering the victim.

The man was airlifted to a grassy area off of the Kahekili Highway and transferred to paramedics at 1:22 p.m.  Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said the victim could not be resuscitated and died at the scene.

Ocean safety lifeguards from DT Fleming Beach Park, a fire battalion chief and firefighters from Nāpili and Kahului responded to the incident.

The Maui Fire Department issued a reminder to ocean users of a few safety tips when enjoying the coastline near cliff areas.

  • If the rocks are wet, it means ocean waves are reaching that area so use caution and stay in dry areas.
  • Even when it’s dry, ocean waves can still reach you, so be vigilant. Large unexpected waves referred to as, “Rogue Waves,” often times come out of nowhere and can cause injury or death.
  • Never turn your back to the ocean. Always keep a watchful eye for potential incoming ocean waves.

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