San Anselmo Man Presumed Dead After Falling Into Blowhole in Hawaii

Family and friends start memorial fund to remember David Potts.

Maui police have officially called off the search for missing San Anselmo man David Potts, 44, who f.

Potts, a general contractor, was on the island with his long-time girlfriend Tika Hick, who is a preschool teacher at Marin Primary School, and their infant son. 

The family was in Hawaii gathering their strength before Hick's surgery for breast cancer next week, said family friend Lisa Christensen.

Hick had been undergoing chemo for the last couple months and friends had hoped the trip would give the family a chance to regroup before she underwent a double mastectomy next week.

"It's just too much and we barely know where to begin or what to do first," said Christensen.

Potts was visiting the Nakalele Blowhole on the north side of Maui when a rogue wave struck him from behind and pushed him through the opening in the rocky shoreline, Maui County spokesman Rod Antone said.

A blowhole is a natural formation that shoots water up through a hole in the rock as waves crash near shore. The water is then sucked back into the blowhole.

Maui Police Department spokesman Lt. Wayne Ibarra said the case has officially become a missing person report and no body was recovered.

A number of news outlets are reporting that signs around the popular tourist destination, which Potts was visiting with Bo Hick, Tika's brother, alert visitors to the danger and warn them to stay 20 feet from the hole. Ibarra said, though, that he wasn't sure about signage around the blowhole.

The signage "simply does not exist," said Bo, who sent photos of one sign near the parking area alerting visitors they should proceed at their own risk and another sign saying simply, "Lookout." The photos are at right.

Bo also pointed out families and children were walking very close to the blowhole as well.

You can see a video of the blowhole at right.

Although Ibarra said there haven't been any incidents of visitors being swept into a blowhole in the last year, it has happened before. "We have our share of ocean accidents," he said.

The family is still in Hawaii, said Warren Dodge, who lives in the house he bought from Potts in April near downtown San Anselmo. Potts and Tika were living in a cottage at the back of the property, while looking for a new home for themselves and their son. 

The two had been together for 15 years and had recently had a son. Potts built the house that he sold to Dodge after living there for 13 years. 

"He was a man's man," said Dodge. Potts motorcycled, skiied, rode bikes, and base jumped.

"What really stands out is how much he loved his wife and his son," said Dodge.

Family friends, said Christensen, have started a memorial fund to aid Tika and the couple's son in the coming months as she recovers from the tragedy and recuperates from the surgery.

Checks can be sent to the Bank of Marin:

Attn: Matt Johnson, Bank of Marin
501 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Suite 100
Greenbrae, CA 94904 

-- Bay City News contributed some reporting to this article.

Note: Information was added to the original story about signage.

Addition: Additional photos were added, provided by Lea Ochs, of additional signage in the area, warning about the blowhole.

Anthony Limney July 21, 2011 at 05:53 PM
Wow, Scotty, you sound just like an idiot arrogant redneck. You have no clue about the history of Hawaii or anything else for that matter. What a sorry form of being. Stay in your cowboy redneck town Mr. Scotty. Nobody asked you to go to anywhere... Arrogant idiot.
Harland Brown July 25, 2011 at 11:37 PM
Can't we learn to treat anything as a moment that drives home the humanity of all of our condition on the face of this earth? Scoring brownie points and claiming that you would not have been so careless is both useless and demeaning. Things happen, people are reckless, but who can claim never to have been so in their own life? This is a time to acknowledge our own frailty, not to bicker.
david potts September 14, 2011 at 10:28 PM
I'm sorry to hear such a sad story. My prays go out to his family.
david potts September 14, 2011 at 10:30 PM
So very sad and wish the family peace. My girlfriend actually got a text to see if it was me.
Jeffrey Kissell September 18, 2011 at 08:00 AM
So, you must not be the David Potts that was sucked into the blowhole?


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