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West Hawaii Information Update for May 16th, 2021

Meteorite brightens and streaks across the sky along the West Hawaii coastline Sunday evening (May 16th) and triggers numerous calls to emergency crews across the state.

Meteorite captured on the Gemini Telescope Webcam on Maunakea facing West

Published by: HIRSC - Weather Team and Hawaii Island (Hōlualoa) Team

Numerous residents throughout the West Hawaii coastline saw a bright white flash brighten the night sky for a few seconds earlier this evening (Sunday, May 16th). That bright flash also triggered a flood of calls to emergency crews across the State of Hawai'i.

On the Island of Hawaii, the Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) received its first call for a report of a bright white flare spot offshore of the Kona Coast (or approximately 1 mile offshore of Puapua'a Point or Royal Sea Cliff in Kailua-Kona) at 8:25 pm Sunday evening. HFD crews from the Kailua Fire Station along Chopper 2 investigated the Kona Coastline and came up with negative findings after a search for approximately 45 minutes.

The Maui Fire Department (MFD) also received an emergency call from numerous residents along the South Maui Coastline reporting a flare spotted offshore as well at 8:24 pm Sunday evening. MFD crews also came up with negative findings.

United States Coast Guard (USCG) received numerous radio calls from mariners across the State of Hawai'i reporting a white and orange flare spotted off the West Shores of all main Hawaiian Islands. Upon further investigation, they later determined it was a bright meteorite streaking across the night sky and there was no emergency from any mariners as well.

HIRSC - Administrator and Founder Benjamin Agdeppa, who at the time was doing some nighttime astrophotography (star photography) outside of his residence in Kailua-Kona around the same time of the bright flash was observed. Ben describes the bright flash as "a very bright shooting star streaking down the night sky into Kailua Bay (or if you would like the actual way Ben said it in PG-13 with pidgin version: Hooo shit, that was bright ass shooting star)".

Unfortunately Ben didn't capture the million-dollar shot, however, later reviewed security camera footage from a camera facing towards Kailua Bay and Kailua-Kona and discovered that the bright flash and star he saw was actually a meteorite streaking across the night sky.

"I guess you can say I am very blessed to have witnessed such a rare event especially in Hawai'i and on Hawaii Island, however, wished I captured that moment, but there will always be another time," Ben says.

Following Ben's discovery and great investigative work as well, HIRSC Team was able to answer the number one question asked by followers on HIRSC Facebook Page and also users throughout social media, helping calm nerves but also give everyone a sigh of relief.

Mahalo again to Ben for coming through again.

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