Sea's victims swapped vows
The newlyweds died after being swept off rocks near Kahakuloa
WAILUKU » A California couple who died in rough seas near a rocky north Maui shoreline have been identified as newlyweds Parag P. Khurjekar and his wife, Mamata D. Godbole.
Khurjekar and Godbole, of San Jose, both 34, arrived on Maui Thursday, a day before their death, and the trip was their first to the Valley Isle.
"They seemed happy," recalled Celeste McDaniels, a front-desk agent at the Kapalua Villas.
The two traveled by rental car to the Olivine Pools near the Bell Stone and milepost 16 on the Lahaina side of Kahakuloa Friday, police said.
Maui police Lt. John Jakubczak said that according to witnesses, Godbole was taking a photograph of Khurjekar on the edge of the pools, which jut out into a peninsula, when a wave struck him and swept him away.
Jakubczak said witnesses don't know whether Godbole was swept in by another wave or had jumped into the ocean, but she was later seen treading water.
Witnesses said Khurjekar was lying face down in the ocean when an emergency call was placed to authorities, a fire official said.
Fire rescue workers were dispatched at 12:50 p.m. Friday, but by the time they arrived at 1:15 p.m., both Khurjekar and Godbole were unconscious.
Khurjekar's body was retrieved by helicopter, and a personal watercraft operator pulled Godbole from the sea.
Khurjekar, a citizen of India with a work visa, was an engineer program manager for Applied Materials Inc. in California, Jakubczak said.
Another California man died at the Olivine Pools in 2004 after being swept out by a huge wave while sightseeing with his 14-year-old daughter.
The daughter survived and was picked up by helicopter after 22 minutes in the water.
Fire officials said they didn't know the size of the wave that swept Khurjekar into the ocean.
During winter months, rogue waves sometimes 20 to 30 feet high can suddenly appear and sweep across the Olivine Pools too quickly for visitors to retreat upland.
The pools are made of sharp volcanic rock and lie next to the open ocean without a coral reef on the fringe to reduce the power of the wave.