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Hiker now in fair condition after 300-foot fall from Koolaus

By Gary T. Kubota

LAST UPDATED: 9:25 p.m. HST, Sep 19, 2012

Oahu resident Agnes Bryant had hiked part of the Koolau Summit Trail and planned to go farther along the path Tuesday.

But Bryant, 30, hadn’t planned on the earth giving way beneath her as she tried to climb around a rock.

She fell some 300 feet, but survived.

“She was a few feet behind me before she fell,” said fellow hiker Marvin Chandra. “It was a free fall at first, but some of the trees may have absorbed the impact on the way down. We could not see her at the bottom, but about 10 minutes after she fell we could hear her screaming for help.”

Bryant had surgery Wednesday for a broken left arm and wrist and has some neck and spine fractures but no paralysis, said Chandra, who declined an interview but responded to questions via Facebook.

“She is able to talk and she was joking around yesterday from what I heard,” Chandra said.

Bryant was listed in extremely critical condition when initially taken to the Queen’s Medical Center on Tuesday. Queen’s said Wednesday night Bryant was in fair condition.

Fire officials said the injured woman lost her footing on an unsanctioned trail and fell in an area known as “The Notches” on the way to Konahuanui, the tallest peak in the Koolaus.

Bryant was with Chandra and another hiker, Laredo Muredo.

Chandra said he and Muredo have hiked with Bryant on trails with similar difficulty and risks. He has various photographs of Bryant climbing steep cliffs affording panoramic views of Oahu.

Chandra said the difficulty of the climb was not a factor but rather that “bad luck” was to blame. Some webbing, or straps attached to the rocks, left behind by other hikers also snapped as Bryant fell, he said.

Fire Capt. James Todd said the woman fell in a steep area with cliffs sloping from 45 to 90 degrees, and the rescuers themselves were at risk as they attempted to aid the hikers.

Puu Kona­hua­nui has two adjacent peaks, known as K1 and K2, along the Koolau Summit Trail between Nuuanu and Manoa valleys. The book “Place Names of Hawaii” says the peaks are 3,150 and 3,105 feet high.

Deborah Ward, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said the state recommends people use trails in forests and parks maintained by the state for safe public use.

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