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Maui firefighters find missing opihi picker at Maliko Bay

A missing opihi picker has been located, and is safe at home after spending the night stranded at the far east end of Maliko Bay, according to the Maui Fire Department.

Early this morning, at about 1 a.m., Maui firefighters received a call of a missing opihi picker. The caller, a woman, said her friend went to pick opihi in the area at about 4 p.m. Wednesday and never returned.

Crews made checks in the area as thoroughly and safely as possible in darkness, but surf along the shoreline at the time was large. Rescue crews suspended the search at 3:15 a.m. with plans to resume at first light.

At about 7 a.m. today, the crew spotted the missing opihi picker, a male Maui resident in his 50s, from aboard the Air 1 helicopter. The man had gotten stranded as large surf pounded the shoreline, and decided to remain in place in a safe location overnight. A firefighter escorted the man up the trail to safety.

No injuries were reported, and the opihi picker refused any medical attention.

Last week, the U.S. Coast Guard suspended a search for a missing, 40-year-old man who had been harvesting opihi when a wave swept him offshore of Honokaa on the Big Island.

He was last seen wearing a red, long-sleeve shirt with camouflage pants and black backpack. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sector Honolulu Command Center at 842-2600.

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