After a passenger on a Maui dive boat died Sunday morning off Molokini, the vessel's captain has taken to Facebook to offer an explanation.
Click here to watch Andrew Pereira's report.
Capt. Charley Neal, owner of Scuba Shack, said weather conditions were calm as he left Kihei Boat Harbor on the Double Scoop, but a squall line quickly moved in without warning.
"After about 30 minutes what I would call a 'freak storm' rolled in and hit like a wall," Neal wrote Monday on Scuba Shack's Facebook page. "40-60MPH winds, rain, and the ensuing 8-12 foot breaking waves," he added.
Neal's Facebook post has since been deleted, but not before being captured by MauiWatch.
According to Neal, 50-year-old Mark Strickert of Austin, Texas, was found face down in the water and unresponsive even though he was snorkeling with full floatation. Neal said Strickert had a medical issue, but had obtained a doctor's clearance to dive.
Everyone who was in the water made it back on board the Double Scoop, but 23-year-old crewmember Alana Osaki suffered critical injuries. Neal said when Oskai tied a rope around her waist to try and retrieve Strickert, the rope was pulled so tightly by the boat's engine that she suffered internal injuries.
"I had some very brave customers and friends that got her back in the boat, but she was incapacitated," Neal Wrote.
Meanwhile, a review of Doppler radar on Sunday appears to corroborate Neal's story. The images show a thick line of thunderstorms moving through the Molokini area at about 6:20 a.m. when Neal says he reached the crescent-shaped crater known for its abundant sea life.
However the entire state was under a flash-flood watch from the remnants of tropical storm Wali, and some have criticized Neal for not canceling the tour.
On Facebook Neal wrote that he "would never put anyone's safety in jeopardy," and expressed his condolences to Strickert's family.
"Our sympathy and prayers go out to the family," he said. "The father was onboard with his wife, daughter and son. It was a terribly sad occurrence, and I feel we did everything we possibly could."
Strickert's family has returned to Texas as the U.S. Coast Guard continues to investigate Sunday's incident. Strickert's funeral services are scheduled Saturday in Austin. A cause of death has not been announced by Maui County.