15 rescued from sinking boat
KIHEI, Maui — Fifteen people were safely rescued yesterday after a Maui Dive Shop snorkeling boat sank off Molokini Island.
The 32-foot Kai Anela began taking on water around noon after the intake on one of its twin water jets sucked up a length of rope or some other debris, said company President Bob Chambers. Passengers were picked up by another tour, the Pineapple Express, and taken to the Kihei Boat Ramp.
No one was injured except for minor cuts and bruises, Chambers said. Coast Guard Station Maui's 47-foot rescue vessel took a pregnant woman and a passenger experiencing shortness of breath to the boat ramp, where they were examined by paramedics, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Luke Clayton.
The Coast Guard also dispatched a Dolphin helicopter from Barbers Point to assist if necessary.
The Kai Anela was submerged just below the ocean surface, and Chambers said his divers were attempting to refloat the boat so it could be towed to shore.
Maui Dive Shop has been in business for nearly 30 years and is one of the island's most successful ocean recreation operations. Chambers said the company has three other tour vessels. He said the Kai Anela is only about 6 or 7 years old and recently underwent a Coast Guard certification inspection.
Molokini, about 2 1/2 miles off the southern coast, is Maui's most popular spot for snorkeling and dive tours.