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Lost hikers keep fire rescue crews busy across Oahu

By Michael Tsai


The lure of clear skies and dry terrain attracted thousands of nature lovers to Oahu’s public trails this weekend. And that, in turn, translated to a busy weekend for Honolulu firefighters who spread out across the island to rescue lost and stranded hikers.

HFD rescued a lost hiker in the Koolau Mountain Range late Sunday morning after nearly a day of searching for him near Sacred Falls.

The man set off Friday on the Pupukea Trail and spent the night near the summit, Honolulu fire Capt. Robert Main said. 

He called for help around 12:45 p.m. Saturday after he became disoriented in the heavy clouds, Main said. The search was called off at nightfall and resumed Sunday morning. 

Main said firefighters hiked for two hours today to reach the man's location because heavy clouds in the area made a helicopter landing unsafe. 

The hiker was located uninjured around 11 a.m., Main said.

Shortly before 5:30 p.m., fire rescue personnel were called to Manoa Falls to assist a family of hikers who had become separated.

Main said the son had split off from his parents during the hike. When he did not meet them at the end, the father went to look for him. When neither returned promptly, the mother called for help.

The son was found later near Tantalus; the father was located above Manoa Falls. Neither was injured.

Around the same time the Manoa Falls search began, another HFD rescue crew was called to help a woman in her 40s who became disoriented while hiking from Fort Shafter to the summit.

The woman was able to make initial contact with HFD before losing mobile phone connection.

Due to bad weather conditions and poor visibility, the rescue crew was unable to reach the woman via helicopter and it was determined that the rescue effort would resume on Monday morning.

However, the woman, unaware of the plan, attempted to hike out on her own, eventually making her way down the other side of the Koolau mountain range, where she was spotted by personnel monitoring traffic at the Tetsuo Harano Tunnels on the H-3 freeway.

Apprised of the hiker’s new location, HFD rescuers were able to reach her and bring her to safety.

“The take-away from all of this is if you call us for help, stay put,” Main said. “That way we’ll at least know where to look. Hikers should also be prepared to stay overnight — with rain gear, enough food and water to get through the night, a charged cell phone — in case something happens.”

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HealthyandHappy wrote:
Good Job HFD!!!
on July 9,2012 | 01:04AM
Solfan wrote:
Clouds and fog at HIGH NOON scared this "hiker"?? O.o Go sit behind an office desk and stay there.
on July 9,2012 | 03:23AM
Manapua_Man wrote:
on July 9,2012 | 06:51AM
olos73 wrote:
Repeat, eh, @Manapua_Man? Just like daily water main break, power outage and motorcycle accidents. People don't learn. Not familiar with where you hiking, DON'T GO. If you with other people, DON'T GO ON YOUR OWN. Firefighters have better things to do than rescuing lost hikers. I'd rather they be available for fires or critical accidents/ocean rescues.
on July 9,2012 | 08:38AM
Kuokoa wrote:
Hikers, if you do not know where you are going, if you don't know how to get back from where you want to go, simple, DON'T GO THERE! Stay on marked trails and do not attempt to go anywhere else. The City and the State should fine these individuals for their stupidity and maybe even make them pay for the rescue costs.
on July 9,2012 | 08:51AM
waverider808 wrote:
totally agree kuokoa, they should also make the lost hikers pay for the rescue. if they presented bills to the lost individuals after rescue, maybe others will learn that you don't go into a situation without doing your homework....
on July 9,2012 | 12:19PM
olos73 wrote:
The City and State should just come out and say, any hiker/hikers needing assistance/rescue will be responsible for any reimbursement. HIKE AT YOUR OWN RISK, EXPENSE!
on July 9,2012 | 12:50PM
SteveToo wrote:
"However, the woman, unaware of the plan, attempted to hike out on her own, eventually making her way down the other side of the Koolau mountain range, where she was spotted by personnel monitoring traffic at the Tetsuo Harano Tunnels on the H-3 freeway." Either the reporter has no idea about O`ahu geography or this woman did an amazing feat and climbed down some amazingly vertical wall on the "other side". I bet she came down into Halawa Valley which is on the same side of the Ko`olau Mts that she started.
on July 9,2012 | 12:30PM
dgcpinoy wrote:
Probably like what Kaleo said, "Stairway to Heaven". They mention Fort Shafter so I'm guessing she went up Bowman and then crossed over to Haiku Stairs and went down "the other side".
on July 9,2012 | 07:50PM
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