Moment Captured Before Deadly Wave Hits

Things turned from a fun to terrible in the crash of a wave last weekend in Hawaii.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    In this Saturday, July 9, 2011 photo provided and shot by Rocco Piganelli, Piper Piganelli, Marley Meyer, and Maddie Meyer, lower left, pose for a photo Piganelli says was taken moments before a man, in the spray at right, fell to his apparent death in a blow hole at Nakalele Point in Maui, Hawaii. Piganelli, of La Jolla, Calif., told The Associated Press that he watched the man spiral down the blowhole, pop up briefly before disappearing when the next wave hit. The 44-year-old man, identified as David Potts of San Anselmo, Calif., has not been found since Saturday afternoon. (AP Photo/Rocco Piganelli)

    A newly obtained photo appears to have captured the moment just before a North Bay man was sucked into an blow hole in Hawaii.

    Rocco Piganelli, of La Jolla, was at the Nakalele Point blow hole taking photos on Saturday when David Potts, of San Anselmo, was knocked down the hole.  Piganelli said Potts was jumping and dancing in the sprays of water with another man when a wave knocked him down.

    Maui Search For Bay Area Man Called Off

    [BAY] Maui Search For Bay Area Man Called Off
    The search for a San Anselmo man who fell into a blowhole in Maui has been called off. NBC Bay Area's Monte Francis reports. (Published Wednesday, Jul 13, 2011)

    Piganelli was taking a picture of his daughter and her friends at the time. He said one of the men you see in the picture close to the blow hole is Potts.

    Piganelli told AP that he and his family watched in horror as Potts popped up briefly after being sucked into the hole, but then disappeared forever.

    "We all stared for like 30 seconds and then I realized -- he's gone. He's down there," Piganelli told AP. "I felt like I was going to throw up." 

    He said the woman who was with Potts let out a horrifying scream and that witnesses had to stop the man who was with him from jumping down the hole in an effort to rescue him.

    An aerial and jet ski search for Potts was called off earlier this week. His body has not been found. Potts was on the island with his wife and infant child. They are reportedly flying back to the Bay Area Thursday.