West Maui fire crews assisted a disabled vessel back to the Mala boat ramp in Lahaina early Sunday morning.
Firefighters received the call at 3:10 a.m. that hotel security from Kahana Beach Resort reported seeing two aerial flares offshore. Napili firefighters arrived in the area at 3:17 a.m. and spotted a vessel offshore.
At about 4 a.m., a Lahaina rescue boat made contact with a 17-foot vessel with five men aboard about a quarter-mile off Honokowai Beach Park. They had been drifting south after experiencing engine trouble off Hawea Point, just north of Kapalua Bay.
The Lahaina crew transferred equipment and men onto their boat to lighten the load and towed the vessel back to its launch point at the Mala boat ramp in Lahaina. Crews had the vessel back at Mala ramp by 5:45 a.m.
The men, all from Kihei and ranging in ages from 25 to 70, were scuba diving in the area near Hawea Point. After pulling anchor, they could not start their engines. They did not have a marine radio or a cellular phone on board so they shot off several emergency distress flares, hoping someone would notice and call for help.
Firefighters from Napili and the Lahaina ladder crew onboard their rescue boat responded to the incident.