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Tourists saw Calif. man fall into Maui blow hole

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, July 13 2011 8:30 p.m. MDT

In this Saturday, July 9, 2011 photo provided and shot by Rocco Piganelli, Piper Piganelli, Marley Meyer, and Maddie Meyer, lower left, pose for a photo Piganelli says was taken moments before a man, in the spray at right, fell to his apparent death in a blow hole at Nakalele Point in Maui, Hawaii. Piganelli, of La Jolla, Calif., told The Associated Press that he watched the man spiral down the blowhole, pop up briefly before disappearing when the next wave hit. The 44-year-old man, identified as David Potts of San Anselmo, Calif., has not been found since Saturday afternoon.

Rocco Piganelli, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

HONOLULU — Witnesses who watched a Northern California man get sucked into a Maui blow hole to his apparent death say that the tourist was dancing around and frolicking in the sprays of water moments before a wave knocked him down.

Rocco Piganelli (pig-ah-NELLY) of La Jolla, Calif. told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he watched the man spiral down the blowhole, pop up briefly before disappearing when the next wave hit.

Piganelli says screaming and chaos ensued as water continued to spew at least 20 feet into the air as powerful waves crashed into jagged lava rocks off Nakalele Point on northern Maui.

The 44-year-old man, identified as David Potts of San Anselmo, Calif., has not been found since Saturday afternoon.

Authorities called off the search for Potts on Monday.

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