Mesa teen falls to death off Maui bridge

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

NAHIKU, Hawaii -- A Mesa teen died Sunday after slipping from a bridge in Maui, where he had been vacationing with family.
Maui police say Mathew "Wiley" Cote of Mesa, Ariz., suddenly lost his footing Sunday at Makapipi Bridge off the scenic Hana Highway and fell forty feet to his death.

Cote's father, Jeff, reportedly saw his son go over the guard rail to take a photo when he slipped and fell over the edge, onto some rocks and into a pond.
Maui Police Lt. Wayne Ibarra said Cote was underwater for 40-60 minutes before rescue divers could retrieve him from the water.

He was pronounced dead at Hana Health Clinic.

Cote graduated from Mountain View High School in May and planned to attend Arizona State University in the fall.

He was also an active member of the youth group at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Mesa, where his father is a church leader.

"He was an amazing kid," said Ellyn Tonkin, a longtime friend. "He was actually really handsome, he just loved life and he was really adventurous."

Friends say Cote's passion was flying and he hoped to one day join the U.S. Air Force.

"He just loved everything to do with airplanes, I understand he had his pilot's license and had done solo flights. Flying was his future absolutely," said Jarrod Zaremba, a youth group leader who worked with Cote.

He was visiting Maui with his father, his father's girlfriend, and her niece.

A memorial has yet to be scheduled.