Hawaii wildfire: Officials release list of 388 unaccounted people, 100 names crossed-off later
27 August, 2023 | Anupam Shrivastava
Hawaii administration cited complexities in confirming the status of the unaccounted individuals, citing incomplete details in some reports and the presence of multiple lists.
After a devastating wildfire in Hawaii led to the tragic loss of over 100 lives, authorities from Maui County disclosed a list of 388 individuals who remained “unaccounted for,” as reported by The Washington Post. However, within a 24-hour span of making the list public, around 100 people were marked as safe and removed from the list.
During a press conference on Friday, Steven Merrill, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Honolulu Division, shared that these individuals had been confirmed as “safe and sound.” He emphasized that while they were grateful for this positive news, their focus remained unwavering on locating the remaining individuals, numbering in the hundreds. Merrill’s sentiment was captured by The Post, quoting him as stating, “We still understand that there’s hundreds more that we’re still looking for, and we will not stop until we find those.”
Merrill clarified that the list released for Hawaii wildfires on Thursday was a subset of a larger compilation that still required thorough verification. He explained, “The 388 names were names that we had more information on. That’s why we released that first. That being said, I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that we still have hundreds of other names where we still need more information.”
Of notable significance, the FBI’s validated list of names, unveiled on Thursday evening, marked the first instance of its kind for individuals who were unaccounted for since the devastating wildfire in Lahaina on August 8, which stands as the most catastrophic wildfire in the country’s history.
Maui Police Chief John Pelletier conveyed the intention behind releasing the list, asserting that it would aid the ongoing investigation. Acknowledging the emotional toll it could take on families, Pelletier expressed, “This is not an easy thing to do, but we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make this investigation as complete and thorough as possible.”
Before the validated list’s release, the count of unaccounted individuals had fluctuated throughout the week due to the FBI’s efforts to eliminate duplicate entries in reported missing cases, according to Hawaii Governor Josh Green. Initially, Maui County Mayor Richard T Bissen mentioned that around 850 people were believed to be missing, but Merrill later estimated the unconfirmed list to exceed 1,000 individuals.
Merrill highlighted the complexities in confirming the status of the unaccounted individuals, citing incomplete details in some reports and the presence of multiple lists tracking these individuals.
In the midst of this, the devastating wildfire, which has gripped global attention, has resulted in a tragic death toll of over 111 individuals, as reported by CNN. Hawaii’s governor characterized it as the deadliest wildfire in the United States in more than a century.
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