Report charges Maui death toll close to 500 and rising

By WND Staff

Charred building in the aftermath of Hawaii wildfire (video screenshot)
Charred building in the aftermath of Hawaii wildfire (video screenshot)

The official death toll for the wildfire catastrophe on the island of Maui is running at about 111 now, and is expected to rise.

But a published report on Friday charged that the toll now is closer to 500 – and still rising.

The report in the Daily Mail cites claims from local residents who “have been forced to carry out their own search and recovery efforts in the aftermath of the deadly Lahaina wildfires.”

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A source, Maui resident Allisen Medina, 24, told the publication, “I know there are at least 480 dead here in Maui and I don’t understand why they’re not saying that.”

She said the horror has included family members “being left to find the charred corpses of their loved ones themselves.”

Heading into the weekend, the official toll was at 111, but authorities said there were large areas of the burned area that still had not been examined.

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The Daily Mail report said morgues on site ran out of body bags.

“ photos taken on Wednesday showed hundreds of cars and vehicles still unsearched – with just a handful marked with an orange X to show they’d been looked at,” the report said.

The report continued, “The soaring death toll means authorities have also had to bring in mobile morgues with five refrigerated trucks parked outside the Maui Police Department morgue office to store the remains of fire victims.”

The report said Medina, who has lived on Maui for five years, has spent the past two weeks “making perilous trips into Lahaina to help burned out residents.”

In an interview, she said, “I have a personal friend who lost her parents, sister and her 10-year-old nephew. She went in [to Lahaina] and saw them there.”

She cited the government and relief organizations both as “not doing anything.”

The report also noted that Southwest flight attendant Sarah Trost, 30, of Sacramento, California, put on social media details obtained from a part-time morgue worker, who confirmed 480 people have been confirmed dead, with large sections of the burned area still unsearched.

The report continued, “The morgue worker, who is volunteering in the search, also described finding scores of bodies, adding that many were families – including young children – who had died at their homes in each other’s’ arms, unable to escape the flames.”

Trost reported, “He found so many children, children and moms holding each other. Infants, toddlers, the unimaginable. Husbands and wives, whole entire [families] in a room just huddling together, burning to death.”

Because of the intense flames, it appears authorities will need DNA from relatives to make positive ID on some victims.

Authorities have said previously that up to 1,000 people remain missing, or unaccounted for.

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