Maui News

Non-Swimmer Rescued at Koki Beach, East Maui

August 21, 2019, 3:21 PM HST
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Fire crews from Engine 7 in Hāna were dispatched to Koki Beach on Haneoʻo Road in East Maui after receiving a report of a man in distress that was being swept out into the surf by a rip tide.

Callers indicated that the 37-year-old man did not know how to swim.  A 25-year-old man used a rescue tube to assist prior to the arrival of first responders.  The device is one of two rescue tubes posted at Koki Beach.

A firefighter was sent out with the other rescue tube to assist in safely bringing the man to shore.

Other firefighters readied a rescue surfboard, which was not needed; and two firefighters did the final assist of the man to shore, according to Maui Fire Services Chief Rylan Yatsushiro.

The incident was reported at around 11:18 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, about 150 feet from shore at the north end of the beach.

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The man, identified as a resident of Oakland, California, was successfully brought to shore where he was checked out by personnel with Medic 6.

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Yatsushiro said the man swallowed some sea water and was in good condition. He refused transport to a clinic for advanced care.

Fire officials say winds were variable and swells were 2 to 4 feet at the time of the incident. The tide was in decline and the usual current was about 1 knot during the receding tide.

There is currently a high surf advisory in effect for the south facing shores of all islands, with surf expected to be in the 6 to 10 foot range today.  The large south-southwest swell peaked late yesterday and is expected to gradually subside today through the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service. Beach-goers, swimmers and surfers are advised of strong breaking waves, shore break and long-shore rip currents that can make swimming difficult and dangerous.

Koki. File photo, credit: Chris Archer

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