17-year-old driver dies after falling off cliff on Maui


Maui police has reopened Hana Hwy. between markers 14 and 15 in the Keanae area after an SUV plunged off a cliff.

The incident happened at about 12:28 a.m. Thursday on Hana Hwy. near Honomanu Bay.

According to Maui police, a 1998 Toyota Rav-4 pulling a trailer veered off the road and went over a guardrail, falling approximately 300 ft. down a cliff on the Hana side of Honomanu Bay. The vehicle landed on the lava rocks on the shoreline and burst into flames.

Police say the driver, 17-year-old Isaiah Puakima of Hana, was pronounced dead at the scene. Fire personnel repelled down to the vehicle to confirm his death.

Police say an 18-year-old passenger, also from Hana, was thrown from the vehicle and managed to climb up the cliff and call for help. He was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Police say both occupants were not wearing their seat belts.

Fire and rescue crews recovered the 17-year-old’s body at first light. The victim was airlifted to a landing zone at the Keanae Ball Park.

All roads reopened just after 6:30 a.m.

Police says the involvement of speed, drugs, and alcohol remains under investigation.

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