Coast Guard, Maui rescue crews search for missing snorkeler

HONOLULU- U.S. Coast Guard and Maui Fire Department crews are searching for a snorkeler who went missing in the vicinity of the Aston Kaanapali resort on Maui Thursday at 11:30 a.m.

Rescue crews are looking for any signs of Bryce Esler, a 20-year-old Caucasian male wearing black shorts. Esler is on vacation and was snorkeling alone.

A rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point, a Coast Guard Station Maui boatcrew, and Maui Fire Department personnel are searching offshore near the resort.

Maui Fire Department personnel contacted the Coast Guard at approximately 11:45 a.m. and Coast Guard crews were on scene at noon.

Coast Guard crews plan to search throughout the night.

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  1. Brenda Rigby says:

    Thoughts and prayers go to Bryce’s family. Their Canadian friends are thinking of them.

  2. Leah Grafton says:

    Your friends are thinking and praying for you. Our hearts are heavy as we hear this news. We will continue to pray for his safe return.

  3. Denise Parrott says:

    Praying for Bryce’s family and his save return.

    Penticton, B.C.

  4. Kelli says:

    I nearly drowned while staying at the Aston Kaanapali Resort five years ago. I was snorkeling when a rip tide pulled me out into the ocean in a few seconds. The coast guard rescued me on a wave runner and brought me back to the beach.

    I really feel that this area should be posted with CAUTION signs or info about the current here. Of course the hotel would lose business, but these are people’s lives at stake.

    I hope the best for this snorkeler and his family.


  5. Linda Ellenberger says:

    My thoughts are with our Canadian Friends.. and with all the positive thoughts we are sending we all hope for good news.


  6. Cheri Marton says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the Essler family tonight… be strong and bring Bryce home…

    The Marton’s

  7. charlene gartner says:

    prayers go to Tony and Mona and their family. keep believing, and know our hearts are with you all.

  8. Claudia says:

    It is 10pm on Maui and the search continues into the night. Helicopters have been searching since noon shortly after Bryce went missing. All day there have been rescue boats, wave runners, helicopters and rescue personnel in the water in scuba and snorkel gear. The rescue workers have given it their all today.

    There are “caution signs” warnings at the beach at the Kaanapali Resort that tell swimmers not to go in the water near the buoys and if they get caught and pulled out to swim either right or left and then swim toward shore. The bouys mark the area of the extreme current. There were also red flags up all day along this area to warn swimmers. It is not advisable to go in the water during a red flag warning.

    It has been a sad day here for guests and locals and I pray for the best for Bryce and his family.

  9. John Vangolen says:

    Our hearts go out to you guys, we keep on praying.

  10. Alane and Tal Kirkham says:

    We can only imagine the desperation right now.Tony and Mona please know that you are in the thoughts and prayers of so many friends . Positive thoughts from the heart and prayers that they will find Bryce today.

  11. Charlene Gartner says:

    Praying for the safe return of Bryce Essler to be reunited with his loved ones. our hearts and prayers are with you all. charlene gartner penticton, b.c.

  12. Beverley Orr says:

    With a very sad and heavy heart I want you to know my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  13. Ally says:

    I pray for his safe return…

  14. The Mastroianni Family says:

    We are sending positive thoughts and prayers to all of you today. If you need anything at all, were here.

  15. Golberg Family says:

    Tony, Mona and Kristi, we are thinking of you all and praying for the safe return of Bryce. Wish we could be there to help in any way possible. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Be strong!

  16. Patti DiMaria says:

    Our thoughts & prayers are with you Tony,Mona & Kristi. We are praying for a miracle!
    Patti,Sam & Jenna DiMaria

  17. Greg says:

    Kelli says:
    February 19, 2010 at 1:21 am

    “I really feel that this area should be posted with CAUTION signs or info about the current here. Of course the hotel would lose business, but these are people‚Äôs lives at stake.”

    Kelli, you can’t walk 100′ on the Ka’anapali shore without seeing a CAUTION sign. Mr. Essler couldn’t have helped seeing them, and like everyone else, including me, ignored them like smokers ignore the warning on a cigarette pack. Second, water is wet and deep. You can get visual confirmation of that.

    (Someone’s going to tell me I’m being cruel and heartless here, that’s not the point. This isn’t about the late Mr. Essler. This is about Kelli’s wonderfully pointless armchair quarterbacking.)

  18. Kris Cabanilla says:

    I was there in the water when all of this happened and my thoughts and prayers go out the families involved. Myself and another person (Ted from Vancouver) who was staying further to the North helped the younger kid get out of the rip tide. Ted swam with him to get closer to shore. I then went back to shore to get the boogy board to help Ted who was hanging on to the bouy once I saw the younger boy was able to stand up. I wish I could have helped more. Please keep me updated on any news if you find the time. With deepest sympathy…

  19. steve says:

    WoW so sorry for your pain. We will be vacationing there next month. Is Bryce subjected to medical conditions like epilepsy or diabetes or heart rythms Or was there a huge rip tide that was not announced at the beach area. Was this near Black Rock or the Marriott or even further south near the Hyatt at Ka’anapali. God bless Bryce and his family.

  20. Justin says:

    I was also staying there when this incident occurred. My prayers go out to his family. Signs are posted alongside a flag pole that indicates the water (current) conditions. To those who are planning to stay at Aston resort, don’t let this discourage you. Just be aware of the flag conditions before you go out into the water. Have a mental idea of what CAN happen if you are caught in a rip current and be ready. You can get out of it, I’m living proof. Just know what to do and always tell your partner that you are going out so that they know of your whereabouts. God bless the Bryce family.