Coast Guard Investigates Kiele V Accident

HONOLULU — The Coast Guard today continues to investigate a death aboard the Kiele V catamaran, which sent out a distress call at approximately 5:09 p.m. Sunday reporting the vessel had been demasted.

The Kiele V was approximately two miles off Kahana Beach near Kaanapali Beach, Maui, when the crew requested assistance over marine channel 16 and through a 911 phone call. The crew reported the vessel’s mast had broken.

The Kiele V had 52 people aboard at the time of the accident.

The Coast Guard responded to the call with a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Maui at Maalaea Harbor, a small boat from the ice breaker Polar Sea and an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Barbers Point.

In addition, two Good Samaritans — the Gemini and Teralani III — and Maui Fire Department responded to the distress call. Fifty-one survivors were transported to shore by the Coast Guard, MFD and Good Samaritans. One person died in the accident.

Coast Guard personnel on scene reported seas of six feet and winds 20-30 mph with stronger gusts.

The Kiele V is a 55-foot catamaran owned by Hyatt and runs whale-watching and sunset cruises along the shoreline near Kaanapali. The vessel was marked with strobes and its last position was approximately three miles off Kahana Beach with approximately 100 gallons of diesel fuel. The vessel had 47 passengers and five crew members aboard according to Hyatt’s vessel manifest.

A Coast Guard Auxiliary aircraft and crew flew over the spot today in an effort to relocate the vessel.

The Polar Sea is a red-hulled 399-foot Coast Guard ice breaker and was tied off to a mooring ball off Lahaina at the time of the accident. The Polar Sea is returning to Seattle after a four-month deployment to Antarctica and has a crew of 140. A small duty crew aboard the Polar Sea launched a small boat to help in the recovery of Kiele V’s survivors.

An investigation of the Kiele V accident is on-going. The Coast Guard will release details when the investigation is complete. The Kiele V was last inspected by the Coast Guard in September 2006 and received a Certificate of Inspection, which is valid for five years.

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