16 beachgoers rescued from surf

Maui County lifeguards rescued 16 people Friday from hazardous, 8- to 10-foot surf at Oneloa Beach, also popularly known as “Big Beach,” county spokesman Rod Antone reported Saturday.

Ocean safety officials advised people to remain cautious about potentially dangerous conditions at the beach. After diminishing to 4 to 6 feet Saturday, the south swell was expected to continue to slowly decline today and Monday.

“People were caught in the rip current and couldn’t get back in,” said county Ocean Safety Operations Chief Archie Kalepa. “As you know, Makena is kind of a dangerous beach, even for the most experienced swimmer.

“Always seek the advice of a lifeguard before entering the water if you are unsure. Best rule is always: When in doubt, don’t go out,” Kalepa said.

Lifeguards also warned beachgoers about hazardous conditions 100 times on Friday, Antone said.