08/23/23-FIRST RESPONDERS CONTINUE UNDERWATER RECOVERY EFFORTSPosted on Aug 23, 2023 in Boating, Boating & Ocean Recreations, DOCARE, Main, Media, News Releases, slider
|JOSH GREEN, M.D.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 23, 2023
FIRST RESPONDERS CONTINUE UNDERWATER RECOVERY EFFORTS
(KAHULUI, MAUI) – Underwater search efforts for human remains that began last Saturday, continued today in near-shore waters near the Lāhainā Small Boat Harbor and along the Front Street breakwater.
A team of 40 from the Maui Fire Department and Ocean Safety utilized personal watercraft to conduct grid searches by firefighters using snorkel gear, instead of the dry suits and fully encapsulated face masks used last weekend by rescue and dive crews.
The search area stretches four miles, from Puamana Beach Park on the south end of Lāhainā to Waihikuli Wayside Park on the north. DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) is providing on-water support.
“We’re going though this sizable area with a fine-toothed comb,” said Maui Fire Dept. Captain Peter Vanderpoel. “Even with a crew this size, I have no doubt this is going to be a multi-day operation.”
“We do know that people went into the water here, so we’re taking a much more forensic approach to the search here because there’s a high probability that we will find items in this area. Other areas outside of here allow for a little bit more of a broad search. We’re really being meticulous in the area along Front Street,” Vanderpoel added.
Firefighters and first responders have been working nearly non-stop for more than two weeks. Some lost their homes. Vanderpoel said, “Right now, I think overall we’re holding up very well. Everybody is still in fight mode. There’s work to be done. We’re here to stay with it and work until duty does not require us to work anymore. Overall, spirits are high. Even the guys who lost their homes are here.”
“The weeks, months, and years to come is going to be where the healing is when we’ll feel the black eyes and the fat lips. We’re just continuing to fight.”
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(All images/video courtesy: Hawai‘i Dept. of Land and Natural Resources)
HD video – Lāhainā near-shore searches (August 23, 2023):
Photographs – Lāhainā near-shore searches (August 23, 2023):
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