Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 10:27 p.m., Sunday, March 25, 2007

Catamaran accident off Maui kills 1; 50 people rescued

Advertiser Staff

spacer spacer
A catamaran with 51 people aboard lost its mast in gusty weather off the Ka'anapali Coast this afternoon, leaving 1 person dead and at least two injured, the Coast Guard said.

The victim was a 48-year-old man, Maui County spokeswoman Mahina Martin said.

The Coast Guard helped rescue 50 people from the whale-watching vessel Kiele V off Kahana Beach.

One person was killed when the vessel lost its mast about two miles off Kahana Beach, near Ka'anapali. Fifty people were rescued after the vessel called for help at 5:50 p.m.

The vessel sank, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard, the Maui Fire Department and the catamaran Gemini brought the survivors to shore. The Coast Guard's Polar Sea, a 399-foot ice breaker, is moored near Lahaina and launched its small boat to respond to the catamaran's distress call. In addition, a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Maui at Ma'alaea Harbor responded, the Coast Guard said.

A HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Barbers Point Air Station helped all the units on scene communicate with one another.

The Kiele V is a whale-watching vessel owned by Hyatt and regularly runs ocean tours along the coastline near Ka'anapali. The vessel carries 47 passengers and four crew members.

"It's a terrible tragedy when a case results in a loss of life, and our hearts go out to the family of the deceased," said Coast Guard Lt. John Titchen.

"We are fortunate to have been able to safely bring the survivors to shore, and we were able to do so with the help of the Maui Fire Department and a good samaritan. It's a classic example of mariners quickly answering a call for help."