Maui News

UPDATE: Snorkeler Pulled from Waters in Mākena, Has Since Died

January 27, 2018, 2:39 PM HST
* Updated January 29, 12:04 PM
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71-year-old man from Berkeley, California revived. PC: file image of Mākena by Asa Ellison


The 71-year-old Berkeley, California man who was pulled from waters off Maluaka Beach in Mākena on Saturday, Jan. 27 and rushed to Maui Memorial Medical Center has since died while at the hospital.  The latest fatality brings Maui’s total fatal drowning count to nine, since Jan. 14, 2018.  Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said Maui has experienced an “unprecedented spike” in ocean drowning incidents in recent weeks.

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A 71-year-old man from Berkeley, California was transported to the hospital in critical condition after he was found floating face down while snorkeling in South Maui waters on Saturday.

The incident was reported at 10:16 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at Maluaka Beach in Mākena.


Fire officials say the man had gone snorkeling by himself but was at the beach with family and friends. According to department reports, a beach goer called 9-1-1 after they saw the victim floating on the surface 100 yards offshore and noticed that he hadn’t moved in a while.


Firefighters and lifeguards from Mākena State Park arrived at the beach at 10:26 a.m. and guided a lifeguard rescue watercraft towards the victim. Lifeguards recovered the man and brought him to the beach where emergency crews began administering life-saving CPR. Fire officials say the man was wearing a traditional two-piece mask and snorkel.

Paramedics were able to get the victim’s pulse back and transported the man to Maui Memorial Medical Center in critical condition.

Lifeguards from Mākena State Park, along with firefighters from Wailea and a Kīhei paramedic crew responded to the incident.



For the ninth time in two weeks, a visitor has died while snorkeling or scuba diving in Maui waters.

The incident follows the death of a 50-year-old Nāpili man on Jan. 14, 2018.  The man, who had been fishing on the shoreline, was found unresponsive in a cove fronting a property at Alaeloa Point and was brought to shore by a surfer. Fire officials say he was transported from the scene in critical condition without a pulse and died while at the hospital.

Also on Jan. 14, 2018, a 69-year-old man from Kula, Maui was reported to be swimming (an unknown distance from shore) one moment and suddenly sank underwater. Bystanders reportedly pulled the victim to shore soon after and started immediate CPR. A fire crew took over CPR until Wailea medics arrived, but the victim could not be revived and was pronounced dead at scene.

The incident follows the death of two California men, a 50-year-old man from Oakland, California on Jan. 18, and a 67-year-old visitor from Castro Valley, California on Jan. 20 at Kamaʻole Beach Park III; the death of a 66-year-old visitor from Saskatchewan, Canada on Monday, Jan. 22, at Ulua Beach in Wailea; and a 57-year-old man from Montgomery, Texas was pulled unresponsive from waters at Oneuli Beach while scuba diving on Wednesday morning.

There were two scuba deaths on Maui on Friday.  A 52-year-old man from Saint Paul, Minnesota died after being pulled unresponsive from waters off of Olowalu while on a snorkel cruise on Friday morning. The other involved 62-year-old male visitor from Salem, Oregon who died after he was found floating face down in the ocean in Kā‘anapali while snorkeling with a friend on Friday afternoon.

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