HONOLULU (AP) -- The longtime girlfriend of the Northern California man who was sucked into a Maui blow hole said he wasn't behaving foolishly and that there should have been warning signs.
Tika Hick told The Associated Press in a phone interview from San Anselmo, Calif., Friday that 44-year-old David Potts wasn't dancing around the blow hole that shoots powerful bursts of water high into the air, contrary to eyewitness accounts of the Saturday incident.
Hick said she wasn't with Potts when it happened, but her brother and sister-in-law were there and described the incident.
Maui County officials say they understand the location to be privately owned, preventing them from posting signs warning of the blow hole's "obvious dangers."
Hick said she and Potts were vacationing with their 6-month-old son because she is about to undergo a double mastectomy.
Earlier this week, Rocco Piganelli, of La Jolla, Calif., said he stared in horror as he watched a large wave push the tourist into the hole off Nakalele Point on Saturday afternoon. The man popped up briefly with the next wave, then disappeared.
"We all stared for like 30 seconds and then I realized - he's gone. He's down there," Piganelli told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "I felt like I was going to throw up."
Piganelli, a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines, readied himself to attempt to resuscitate the man, fully expecting him eventually surface. But the man never did.
"The girl who was with him let out this horrifying scream," he said.
He and other tourists scrambled over a cliff to look for the man out in the ocean as powerful waves crashed violently against sharp rocks.
"In my heart, I kind of knew he wasn't coming out," Piganelli said. "I wanted to give him hope because it was all I could do."
Erica Meyer, whose family was vacationing with Piganelli's family, recalled thinking that it was foolish for the man to be mere inches from the blow hole's opening.
"We're watching it thinking it's crazy these guys are doing that," she told the AP.
Potts stood in front of the blow hole with his back to the ocean when the wave hit, Meyer said. "It was very, very fast, within a matter of seconds."