Maui News

Visitor dies, among four distressed swimmers pulled from waters in West Maui

December 23, 2021, 5:25 AM HST
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The incident occurred north of Kahekili “Airport” Beach in Kāʻanapali, Maui. PC: file Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources

Four swimmers in distress were pulled from waters in West Maui on Wednesday afternoon, but one died in the incident.

Maui police have since identified the man as 77-year-old James Vanolpen of Watervliet, New York.

The incident was reported at 2:50 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021 in the beach area fronting 104 Kāʻanapali Shores Place.

Upon arrival, all four swimmers had been brought to shore by other beachgoers and fire personnel.

Life-saving measures were being performed on Vanolpen by first responder personnel; however, those measures proved unsuccessful.


A preliminary police investigation reveals no signs of foul play and an autopsy has been scheduled.


The investigation is ongoing. Maui police have the case currently classified as a fatal miscellaneous accident.

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