KAUMALAPAU, Lanai - A 51-year-old Lanai man died Sunday morning after being run over by an inflatable tour/snorkel boat while diving near Kaumalapau Harbor on Lanai, a fire official said.
The man's body was recovered about 150 feet from the entrance to the harbor, the official said.
The incident occurred at 10:36 a.m. and involved the vessel Wiki Wahine out of Lahaina, the official added.
Lee James, president of Ultimate Rafting, owner of the boat, was not present, but he said the diver "popped up" without warning in front of the 30-foot Zodiac. "We feel horrible about it, obviously."
He said sea conditions were rough and the water "was white," reducing visibility. As far as the boat operator could see, there was no dive flag out, although "there may have been a dive float."
Police said the Lanai man, who was free diving, was using both a float and a flag.
Alcohol and speed are not suspected as contributors to the accident, police said. The name of the victim was not released by police.
James said the Wiki Wahine's captain, who he did not identify, jumped in, but by that time it was too late to help the diver.
He said his company has been operating in that area for 20 years.
"It's a tragic accident," James said. "The captain never even saw him."
The Lanai fire crew responded to the incident. Maui police and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources began investigating the case, but late Sunday it was turned over to the Coast Guard for further inquiry.