'Mayday, mayday': Daughter saves father after boat crash in Hawaii

A Hawaii fisherman with years of experience on the water found himself in a very dangerous situation last weekend.


A Hawaii fisherman with years of experience on the water found himself in a very dangerous situation last weekend.

Claude Moreau has been fishing on Maui for over 40 years. He and his daughter, Charme, were on their way back home from Hana last Sunday morning when they dozed off.

"I sat down because I was tired," Claude, 70, said. "And the next thing I know I was sleeping. I didn't know I was sleeping. Next thing I noticed -- Boom. That's how I woke up."

Claude's boat, Maile, smashed into a group of giant rocks, in waters right off the island's north shore.

"I looked at him and said 'make a mayday call right now... Mayday mayday," Charme recalled. "He got in Mayday. 'Mayday This is Maile.' Then the boat went under and he went under with the boat."

Suddenly, Charme lost sight of him. Her dad was trapped under the boat as it sank.

"You see those movies where people are trying to save those people underwater and they can barely get to them," she said. "And I had that feeling because I went down and I couldn't see him."

Through strength, courage and the will to survive, Charme dove underwater, found her dad and pulled him back to the surface.

But now, they still were stuck in the middle of the ocean.

"I look at the shoreline and [I see] crashing huge rocks, and crashing huge lava rocks," Charme said.

They had no choice.

"I held him and I went on my back just like lifeguard style on my back, just pulling and swimming with my head up and taking deep breaths," she remembered. "And I kept telling him don't let the water go in your mouth because that's what was happening, it was going in and drowning both of us."

Charme said they swam over an hour to get to the rocky shoreline.

"The waves are crashing, we have to not bash our heads open," she said. "So that was the point when we were trying to get in, I had that moment, like, wow, we may not make it."

The pair took a chance and crashed onto the rocks. "We both tumble and I just see him tumbling, but we're on the rocks and I'm like, 'Oh, we made it!'"

They weren't in the clear yet, though, as they had to figure how to get to the top of the giant rock pile to get onto land.

Then, out of nowhere, they were given a helping hand. Or a helping rope.

"Mahalo ke Akua and all his angels for those wonderful fishermen who put ropes," Charme said. "Somebody put ropes. So I was like 'There are ropes! I can make it!'"

Charme did make it -- she climbed all the way up and was able to track down people who called 911.

The Maui Fire Department flew in a helicopter and plucked Claude from the rocks and took him to the hospital.

With just a few bumps and bruises, this fisherman and his daughter are happy to be alive, grateful to their community and want their story to be a lesson.