It was a deadly Presidents’ Day in waters off Maui. Three people died, and one person is fighting for his life.
It all happened within a matter of several hours Monday afternoon in different parts of Maui.
The first incident happened just after 1:30 p.m. near Honokohau Bay, in an area known as “Chutes and Ladders” on the northwest side of the island.
Officials say a woman walking on the rocks got swept into the ocean by a large wave. Her friend jumped in to try to save her, but firefighters say the two never came back up.
Rescue divers recovered their bodies from underwater. Police identified them as Emmanuel Tabbay, 19, and Edelene Parilla, 18, both of Kahului.
Then, less than two hours later, beachgoers saw a man floating in the waters off Makena Beach and Golf Resort at about 3:06 p.m.
Police identified him as Larry Robins, 53, of Spokane, Wash. Officials say he was snorkeling with his wife near South Maluaka Beach Park when he ran into trouble.
Good Samaritans pulled Robins out of the ocean, but paramedics could not revive him.
Less than 30 minutes after that incident in Makena, another man was found floating in the waters off Kaanapali Ocean Resort.
Paramedics did CPR and rushed him to the hospital in critical condition. That man was visiting from New Jersey.
On Monday, the surf was high especially for swimmers in the waters off the north and west shores. Waves were up to 16 feet for north Maui waters. On the west side, it was six to 10 feet.
“Be mindful of your limitations. Always be aware of your ocean conditions and never turn your back on the ocean. Always keep an eye out for the ocean should a large wave come by if you’re standing near the ocean edge,” Maui Fire Department spokesman Edward Taomoto said.
On Tuesday, the surf will be going down into the single digits, before another large northwest swell arrives on Thursday to bring those numbers back up.