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Firefighters rescue 4 hikers stranded on Koolau trail by bad weather

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jul 04, 2012

Firefighters rescued four hikers Tuesday who aborted an attempt to hike the Koolau Summit Trail after withstanding a night of bad weather and encountering heavy clouds.

The four hikers had planned to spend five days in the mountains to hike from Aiea to Laie, but called the Fire Department with a cell phone after heavy clouds set in this morning, said Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Terry Seelig. 

The man and three teenaged boys who started their hike Monday endured strong gusty winds and rain overnight, Seelig said.

“Their tent really wasn’t adequate,” Seelig said. “They became very cold. They didn’t know exactly where they were. It was very cloudy.”

Three firefighters began hiking to the group about 9:30 a.m. and hiked about 10 miles to reach the group and bring them back to the trailhead of Aiea Loop Trail about 4 p.m., Seelig said. The hikers were tired and hungry, but uninjured.

Seelig warned that hiking the Koolau Summit Trail can be risky because of treacherous passageways and extreme weather.

“They learned a lesson,” Seelig said. “It’s not just about a hiking background, but you have to have a good understanding of the area that you’re hiking in.”

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Kuokoa wrote:
Good, let them stay for a couple more days. Maybe they will learn a lesson not to go where there is no trail. It is about thime that the C&C and State implement fines on those who go on unmarked trails and get into trouble.
on July 3,2012 | 08:29AM
Living_Large wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on July 3,2012 | 08:40AM
olos73 wrote:
Firefighters have better things to do than rescue hikers. There's fires in Leeward side that needs to be put out before it spreads and endangers residents. They have to be available for other more serious fires, vehicle accidents, etc. Send them the bill...
on July 3,2012 | 08:57AM
Fred01 wrote:
How about if they send you the bill? Quit your crying.
on July 3,2012 | 10:06AM
olos73 wrote:
What they going send me the bill for? I'm NOT the one dumb and stupid to be stuck on the mountain. Don't know where to go, DON'T GO. Most people agree with me about billing them. Anybody agreeing with YOU, Fred01? NO...boo hoo hoo
on July 3,2012 | 10:58AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
It is simply reckless and irresponsible to go off hiking unprepared and in unfamiliar territory. These people need to be charged for the cost of the rescue.
on July 3,2012 | 09:08AM
Anonymous wrote:
Did you even read the story? They have supplies to last them a couple of days. And how is one supposed to get familiar with the territory without going in the first place. I hope you haven't contributed to the gene pool. Talk about jumping to conclusions.
on July 3,2012 | 09:48AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Yes I read the story - I always comment that you need to be prepared and familiar. Yes they may have been prepared but they were not familiar. You get familiar with the territory by going with someone who has that familiarity with the trail before ever going off on your own. I have hiked just about every trail on Oahu and have never had a problem by following those two simple rules. Your comment about the gene pool was inappropriate. Why so much hate?
on July 3,2012 | 10:00AM
copperwire9 wrote:
I completely agree, Anonymous. Even the most skilled, careful hikers can get in trouble. Seems like these people thought they were prepared, but weren't. It was foolish, yes, but I've made mistakes myself that could have had serious consequences - as we all have - and learned from them. Thanks for posting a reasonable perspective.
on July 3,2012 | 11:00PM
Snator wrote:
Yeah, people should never leave their houses, safer to just stay in and make comments online to every article in the paper. Sheeesh!
on July 3,2012 | 09:27AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Rescuing hikers entail costs that are incurred solely for recreation purposes. We shouldn't have to pay those costs as a community without a mechanism for recovering them. The solution seems pretty simple. Require everyone who hikes to get a hiking permit, and pay a fee to obtain it. If you've got the permit and need rescuing, no additional charge. If not, then you pay the full cost (man power, equipment cost, energy cost, etc.) of your rescue. For the libertarians, conservatives and tree huggers who would object, No need get the permit. Just pay the freight if you happen to need rescuing.
on July 3,2012 | 09:57AM
Fred01 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on July 3,2012 | 10:05AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Fred01 (aka: genius), Article X of the Hawaii State Constitution deals with the REQUIREMENT of a free public education. Article XI deals with management of public lands, but does not require free access, nor prevent the payment of a user fee. Had you been paying attention in class, you’d know not to open your mouth without doing your homework
on July 3,2012 | 10:27AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Fred01, I just read your other post to this article. I'm sorry. I agree with you. YES! You should have to repay the State.
on July 3,2012 | 11:05AM
olos73 wrote:
See Fred, "repay the State."
on July 3,2012 | 11:24AM
kalaoa wrote:
Colorado has a system where people who buy hunting or fishing licenses, can call for rescue, without charge, if a legitimate "emergency". So many hikers get qualified and buy hunting or fishing licenses to ensure their backup safety system. If you don't have such license(s) or if not really an emergency; then you pay for the rescue. Think it works well in Colorado. Should work here. Colorado has lots of transient population (tourists, military, etc), just like Hawaii.
on July 3,2012 | 06:41PM
SueH wrote:
All this expense and hassle just because some idiots probably needed to tend their pakalolo plants deep in the Koolau mountains! What else would an adult and 3 teenage boys be spending several days deep in the mountains for, unless tending their crops? Certainly not the view!
on July 3,2012 | 12:11PM
copperwire9 wrote:
Umm...you've never gone hiking? Never gotten out to enjoy yourself in the beautiful outdoors? Never moved out of the living room? Darlin', go outside please, and see what it's like. Not everyone - honest! - not everyone who enjoys the outdoors is growing pakalolo.
on July 3,2012 | 11:03PM
kalaoa wrote:
Why are they crying for help? No emergency here, just wet and cold "children" it seems. Stop whining if you want to be like the big people.
on July 3,2012 | 06:37PM
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