Cochran saw people grab debris and float off into deeper waters, which horrified her

In the dark, cold water off Lahaina on Tuesday night, Annelise Cochran clutched one of her neighbours for warmth, both women shivering and struggling to breathe through the smoke and fumes.

Cochran felt like she was losing consciousness.

“I don’t know if it was the smoke or the cold or the fumes,” Cochran, 30, recounted in a telephone interview. “It was the closest I’ve felt to death.”

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