02 September 2023

Missing list after Maui wildfire falls slightly to 385

02 September 2023

The number of people on the official list of those missing from the Maui wildfire has been put at 385, nearly unchanged from a week earlier.

In a news release, Maui Police Department and the FBI said 245 people on the list of 388 published last week had been located and removed from the list, but a nearly equal number of new names had been added.

The update was a departure from what had been expected. A day earlier governor Josh Green had said he expected the number to fall below 100.

“We think the number has dropped down into the double digits, so thank God,” he said in a video posted to his account on X, formerly known as Twitter.

After Maui police released the updated list, Mr Green said the numbers of fatalities and missing are often in flux in mass casualty events until investigations are completed.

“Exact numbers are going to take time, perhaps a long time, to become finalised,” he said in a statement provided through a spokesperson.

He added that there are fewer than 50 “active missing person cases”. He did not elaborate but indicated those are the people for whom more information was provided than the minimum to be on the missing list compiled by the FBI.

Authorities have said at least 115 people died in the fire, which tore through Lahaina in a matter of hours on August 8 — the deadliest wildfire in the US in more than a century.

So far, the names of 50 people have been publicly released and five others have been identified but their names withheld because next of kin have not been reached. The rest have yet to be identified.

Initially more than 1,000 people were believed unaccounted for based on family, friends or acquaintances reporting them as missing. Officials narrowed that list down to 388 who were credibly considered missing and released the list of names to the public last week.

The list is compiled by the FBI and includes only “credible” names, defined as a first and last name provided by a person with a verified contact number.

New names on Friday’s updated list were added from the Red Cross, shelters and interested parties who contacted the FBI, Maui Police Chief John Pelletier said.

He urged family members of the missing to submit their genetic data to help identify their relatives.

“If you have a loved one that you know is missing and you are a family member, it’s imperative that you get a DNA sample,” he said in a video posted to Instagram.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox