Maui authorities report an uptick in drownings involving the full face snorkel mask. Stock photo: Martin Str via Pixabay.
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MAUI, HI – Three East Bay men have drowned in waters off Maui since Jan. 18, prompting authorities to question the safety of the full face snorkel mask.

Maui authorities report an uptick in drownings involving the full face snorkel mask. Stock photo: Martin Str via Pixabay.
Maui authorities report an uptick in drownings involving the full face snorkel mask. Three East Bay men have drowned there in the last two weeks. Stock photo: Martin Str via Pixabay.

A 71-year-old Berkeley man died Saturday off Maluaka Beach in Makena. His name has not been released.

Earlier this month, a 50-year-old man from Oakland and a 67-year-old Castro Valley man drowned in separate incidents off Maui. Each of those two men was wearing a full face snorkel mask.

“Unprecedented spike” in full face snorkel mask drownings

Nine snorkeling or scuba diving deaths have been reported in Maui since Jan. 14.

According to the SFGate, Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said the Maui Fire Department has seen an “unprecedented spike” in the number of drownings or near-drownings involving the one-piece masks, “but it is too early to make any sort of connection to the use of this equipment and drownings.””

Hawaiian counties are collecting data on the incidents involving the full-face snorkel design, Taomoto said.

“There is speculation that there may be an unforeseen buildup of carbon dioxide within the breathing chamber in the one-piece, full-face mask design,” Taomoto said.

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