A 12-year-old California boy who fell to his death Sunday in East Maui had run toward a dirt hill after his family pulled their vehicle off the road along Hana Highway, police said.
Maui police Monday identified the victim as Cristian Lopez of the San Diego area.
The boy from Chula Vista fell about 300 to 350 feet from an area on the Keanae side of Honomanu Bay and sustained massive head trauma, police said. He was retrieved from the ocean at the bottom of the cliff and transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Shown is the scene across Honomanu Bay where a 12-year-old visitor fell down the 300- to 350-foot cliff along Hana Highway on Sunday. The victim was found at the bottom of the cliff near the band of trees below the curve of the road.
Maui Police Department photo
Police said the boy's family had parked at the area along Hana Highway, and "the victim quickly exited the vehicle and ran toward the dirt hill at the lookout," according to a preliminary investigation.
Witnesses told police the victim's mother, Tanya Lopez, called out to her son, but the boy suddenly disappeared over the edge.
Fire officials said crews from Hana along with the Fire Department's Air One helicopter, the Kahului rescue crew and paramedics responded to the 10:42 a.m. call about the accident.
There are no railings, but there is a berm along the shoulder of the highway where the boy fell, said Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga.
"It's not even a lookout," he said. "People should be aware of their surroundings. You've got to be careful when you're out there, especially when you're on the side of the road. It was so tragic."
The fall occurred at a state highway location that isn't maintained by the county as a designated lookout, said Maui Police Department spokesman Lt. Wayne Ibarra.
"People should be cautious if they decide to venture off the road, especially if it's a place without designated signs," Ibarra said. "There are a lot of pullout spots on the highway. If it's not designated as a lookout spot, don't utilize it."
The grieving family made arrangements to leave the island Monday, two days earlier than they had planned to return to California, the boy's father, also named Cristian, told The Associated Press. When asked about his son's death, he said he would discuss it at a different time.