Man dies after being swept into the ocean

The Maui News

A Canadian man died Saturday after being swept into the ocean by a wave at Nakalele Blowhole in West Maui, according to a fire official.

Emergency crews responded to the area of Milepost 38 on Kahekili Highway after the 12:41 p.m. call, said Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto.

A lifeguard on a rescue watercraft arrived on the scene around 1 p.m. and found the male floating face down and lifeless about 200 feet from shore, Taomoto said. The Fire Department’s Air One helicopter was dispatched to the scene with rescue swimmers who were deployed to the water to assist lifeguards.

The 48-year-old Ontario resident was airlifted to a grassy area near the highway and transferred to paramedics at 1:22 p.m. The victim could not be resuscitated and died at the scene, Taomoto said.

The victim was lying on the rocks near the water’s edge when he was washed into the ocean by a large wave, Taomoto said. He was reportedly swimming and staying afloat, but at some point became unresponsive.

Ocean safety lifeguards from D.T. Fleming Beach Park and fire crews from Napili and Kahului responded to the incident.

The Maui Fire Department offers the following tips for ocean users when they’re along the coastline in cliff areas:

• If the rocks are wet, it means ocean waves are reaching that area, so use caution and stay in dry areas.

• Even when it’s dry, ocean waves can still reach you. Large unexpected waves, or “rogue waves,” can cause injury or death.