| 28 November 2023, Tuesday |

Maui wildfires: 100 people reported safe after officials release list of missing

The FBI confirmed that 100 people were safe within hours of releasing the identities of 388 people who had gone missing during the Maui wildfires.

On Thursday, authorities revealed the names and requested survivors to come forward so that they could focus their efforts on finding any more survivors.

The official mortality toll from the flames is at 115.

Search and rescue personnel are still digging through the burned remnants of Lahaina and other locations.

On August 8, terrible flames raged across the oceanside hamlet of Lahaina, home to 12,000 people.

In a press conference, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Honolulu, Steven Merril, said they were “very thankful for the people who have reached out by phone or email”.

“As we get someone off of a list, this has enabled us to devote more resources to those who are still on the list.”

In a statement on Thursday, Maui’s police chief John Pellettier said the names were released in an effort to narrow down who remains unaccounted for.

“We know that it will help with the investigation,” Chief Pelletier said.

Officials also asked residents to come forward if they see a name of a person they know to be safe.

Earlier in the week, authorities said more than 1,000 people were still unaccounted for.

As of Thursday, Chief Pelletier said that an additional 1,732 people who were believed to be missing have since been found safe. Officials have been able to narrow down the list of missing by cross referencing it with names of people staying at shelters.

“We also know that once those names come out, it can and will cause pain for folks whose loved ones are listed,” Chief Pelletier added in his statement.

“This is not an easy thing to do, but we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make this investigation as complete and thorough as possible.”

The wildfires have been marked as the deadliest in US history, and officials have said that they anticipate the death toll may rise.

Maui officials have publicly identified 46 people who died in the fire. The latest names, released on Thursday, include a family of four whose remains were found in a burnt car near their home.

They were identified as: 7-year-old Tony Takafua; his mother Salote Tone, 39; and his grandparents Faaoso Tone, 70, and Maluifonua Tone, 73.

Tony is the first confirmed child victim of the wildfire.

  • Reuters