Monday, September 25, 2023

Hawaii releases names of 388 people missing from fires

The list was compiled by the FBI. The number of confirmed deaths from the fires that devastated Maui’s historic coastal community of Lahaina stands at 115 but is likely to rise.

“We also know that once these names come to light, those whose loved ones are on the list can and will suffer,” Police Commissioner John Pelletier said in a statement. “It’s not easy, but we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to make this investigation as complete and thorough as possible.”

Officials said names on the list were considered validated if authorities knew an individual’s first and last name and verified contact information for the person who reported them missing.

According to the authorities, 1,732 people who had been reported missing had turned up safely by Thursday afternoon.

Authorities said Wednesday that between 1,000 and 1,100 names remain on the FBI’s preliminary and unconfirmed missing persons list, but DNA has been collected from only 104 families, far fewer than in previous major disasters around the world.

Pelletier said Tuesday that his team was struggling to put together a solid squad. In some cases, people provided only partial names; in other cases, the names may be duplicates. Hawaiian authorities had expressed concern that by releasing a missing persons list, they would also identify some of the deceased.

As of Thursday, authorities have notified the families of 35 people who have already been identified, but the families of another 11 people who have been identified have not been located or notified. Among the eight names released Thursday are those of a family of four whose remains were found in a burned-out car near their home: Tony Takafua, 7; his mother, Salote Tono, 39; and his grandparents, Faaoso Tone, 70, and Maluifonua Tone, 73.

Separately, Maui County also sued Hawaiian Electric Co. on Thursday over the fires, alleging the energy company negligently failed to turn off power despite particularly high winds and dry conditions.

Witness reports and videos suggest sparks from power lines caused the blazes as pylons snapped due to high winds from a hurricane that passed near the island.

Hawaii Electric said in a statement that it was “extremely disappointed that Maui County has chosen this controversial path while the investigation is ongoing.”

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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