Air crashes, shark attacks, a lightning storm named "Flossie," a reshuffled political deck and a feud between the Maui County Council and Mayor Alan Arakawa were just a few of the many stories to make headlines in 2013.
There were other stories considered for the Top 10 stories of the year, such as the opening of the new Kihei Police Station, the return of the remains of St. Marianne to the islands, plans for a Target and T.J. Maxx in Central Maui, the proposed sale of the Maui Mall by Alexander & Baldwin, the opening of The Outlets of Maui on Front Street, the closing of Treats & Sweets/Dairy Queen in Kahului and The Waterfront Restaurant in Maalaea and a big fire at Hale Kamaole in Kihei.
If there was an 11th top story of the 2013, it would be the legalization of same sex-marriages throughout the state and the first weddings in early December. The issue was a contentious one, fought during a special session of the Legislature in October and November and on Maui as well with religious groups taking out ads and sign waving on the streets. Supporters of gay marriages held rallies of their own.
A 1989 Piper PA-28 Cherokee aircraft, owned by Mokulele Iki LLC in Kihei, made an emergency landing June 16 near the shoreline in Waiehu.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
Boston Red Sox’s Shane Victorino hits a three-run scoring double during the third inning
of Game 6 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. The hit by the right fielder from Maui led his team to victory and the World Series title in the decisive Game 6.
AP file photo
A 45-year-old Frenchman, who would identify himself only as Christian, was taken in stable condition to the hospital after being bitten by a shark Oct. 31 off Kaa Point at Kanaha Beach. There were two fatal shark attacks in 2013.
TOM BRIGGS photo
The Kahoma Stream Bridge, shown in April, received a design award from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Hawaii Section. The bridge was a key element of the first portion of the Lahaina bypass that was opened in March.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Shane Mills suffered a couple of puncture wounds and a couple of lacerations about 8 inches long after being bitten by a shark about 100 yards offshore of Kaehu Beach in Waiehu on Oct. 23. The left side of his board shorts was shredded in the attack.
The Maui News / EILEEN CHAO photo
A single-engine Mokulele Airlines plane departed from Kahului Airport and was headed to the Big Island when the plane apparently had engine trouble and landed on Piilani Highway in South Maui on Oct. 21. Ten people were aboard. No injuries were reported.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
A poll of The Maui News newsroom resulted in the following Top 10 stories in no particular order.
Air crashes: Tragic and surreal
Top 10 Stories of 2013
* Air crashes: Fatal and surreal
* Shark attacks in Maui waters
* Flossie strikes
* Old Wailuku Post Office controversy
* A new political landscape
* Lipoa Point / Kihei high school funded
* Launiupoko land deal
* Lahaina bypass opens
* Maui boy helps win World Series
* The government shutdown
The first of three air crash landings occurred June 16 when the pilot of a Piper Cherokee on a flight from Honolulu to Maui declared a mayday about 3 to 4 miles from Kahului Airport. The plane went down in brush near the shoreline in Waiehu, with the pilot and three passengers (all flying back to Maui after playing in a tennis tournament on Oahu) all uninjured. One passenger, who declined to be identified, said he was lucky to be alive.
Two days later, an attempt by a Pacific Helicopters crew to haul the aircraft from its landing area in Waiehu failed when the plane spun wildly in the wind because of a bent wing, forcing the crew to drop the plane into the ocean. Two days later, the aircraft was hauled out.
The second crash landing happened Oct. 21 when a Mokulele Airlines Cessna Grand Caravan made an emergency landing on Piilani Highway in Wailea. None of the eight passengers aboard or the two pilots were injured. En route from Kahului Airport to Kamuela on the Big Island, the plane lost engine power before safely landing on the northbound lane of the highway around 7 p.m.
There were no injuries on the ground, although officials said the plane did clip some traffic signs. The crash landing closed Piilani Highway between Kilohana and Wailea Ike drives for several hours.
The third crash, also involving a Cessna Grand Caravan, happened Dec. 11 in the ocean off the coast of Kalaupapa, Molokai, and it led to the death of state Department of Health Director Loretta Fuddy. The 65-year-old Fuddy, whose cause of death remains undetermined, was the only fatality among the nine people on board the Makani Kai Air single-engine turboprop when its pilot landed in the ocean about a half-mile northwest of Kalaupapa.
The crash was reported at 3:37 p.m. after a pilot reported seeing debris in the water. The U.S. Coast Guard and Maui Fire Department responded, sending a plane, helicopters and boats for the rescue effort.
While one survivor, a 70-year-old man from Kailua, Oahu, swam to shore, the others were plucked from the ocean by helicopter crews. They were treated and released at the scene or taken to hospitals on Molokai and Oahu.
Richard Schuman, owner of Makani Kai Air, said the pilot did his best to get the plane down safely and to keep the passengers together in the waters off Molokai. Asked how they survived, he responded: "Will."
"There's only one engine on that plane and when it quits on you, you just have to deal with it in that moment," he said.
Shark attacks in Maui waters
Shark attacks near Maui claimed the lives of two visitors in 2013.
On Aug. 14, a shark bit off the right arm of 20-year-old German visitor Jana Lutteropp while she was snorkeling 50 yards offshore of Palauea Beach, also known as "White Rock," in Wailea. She was rushed in "very critical condition" to Maui Memorial Medical Center, but she had lost an enormous amount of blood and died Aug. 21 after being on life support.
On Dec. 2, 57-year-old Washington state visitor Patrick Briney died after a shark bit off his right foot as it was dangling in the water while he was fishing from his kayak about a half mile off Little Beach in Makena. Briney's fishing partner heard him scream, paddled about 500 yards to him and found him bleeding profusely. He tied a tourniquet around Briney's right leg, A nearby charter tour boat from Ed Robinson's Diving Adventures tried to help, but it was too late.
Overall, eight shark attacks happened in Maui waters, or 61.5 percent of the 13 shark attacks reported statewide in 2013. The overall shark attack number is more than three times the state's average of four unprovoked shark incidents per year over the last two decades.
In 2012, the state's 10 shark attacks were unprecedented at the time.
In most of the attacks, victims suffered lacerations and puncture wounds.
In another incident, a shark bit a kitesurfer's drifting board on Aug. 13 about 50 yards offshore near Ka'a Point west of Kanaha Beach.
The state has launched a two-year study of shark behavior to try to understand the surge in incidents.
On July 29, Tropical Depression Flossie rolled across Maui, bringing a lightning and thunder show rarely seen on the island.
The storm left residents without power in some areas, and parts of Haiku were without water a day later. Rain and wind knocked down utility lines and trees, flooded roads and canceled airline flights.
Despite the storm's fury, public safety officials reported no major damage or injuries. A lightning strike at a Kahului home caused $1,000 in damage. A light post toppled at The Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali, and there was a reported close call in Maui Meadows when water from a clogged streambed came near to a home but was diverted before there was major damage.
In Haiku, 47-year-old Mark Minobe was shocked when he reached out to turn on the kitchen faucet during the storm. As soon as his hand made contact with the faucet, a streak of blue light came from the faucet and shocked him, his wife said.