3 paddleboarders swept out to sea are rescued

A Lahaina rescue watercraft takes paddleboarders, who were rescued at sea off Papalaua Beach Park, off a U.S. Coast Guard vessel Wednesday for a ride to shore. U.S. Coast Guard photo

The Maui News

A father and his two sons were rescued Wednesday after emergency crews responded to reports of three people on paddleboards being swept out to sea in choppy conditions off Papalaua Beach Park, Maui fire and U.S. Coast Guard officials said.

Fire Department crews and a U.S. Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat Medium from Station Maui were called at about 1:40 p.m. A beachgoer called 911 to report the emergency.

From shore, Lahaina firefighters were able to spot the three people about a mile out, said Fire Services Chief Rylan Yatsushiro. He said firefighters guided the Coast Guard vessel and Lahaina rescue watercraft to the victims.

The Coast Guard said its boat found the paddleboarders holding on to a single paddleboard.

They were brought on board the Coast Guard vessel, where one person was treated for a small cut on his foot. They all were then transported to shore aboard the county rescue watercraft, the Coast Guard said.

The Mainland visitors were a 45-year-old man and his two sons, ages 10 and 14. A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Barbers Point on Oahu was diverted from nearby training work to join the rescue.

The three paddleboards were recovered, the Coast Guard said.

Yatsushiro said conditions were described as very choppy with winds blowing offshore at 25 to 30 mph. The Coast Guard reported 2 to 3 foot seas.

“The Maui Fire Department wants to remind the public that ocean conditions can change in an instant,” Yatsushiro said. “It is important to pay close attention to your surroundings, and consult a lifeguard about ocean conditions if one is available.”

“Check the weather before you go out,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Austin Cooke, a Station Maui coxswain. “Be safe, know your surroundings and limits.”