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Search resumes today for woman swept to sea on Kauai

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 8:17 a.m. HST, Feb 22, 2013

Kauai firefighters and lifeguards will resume a search for a woman missing in waters off Kauai’s Hanakapiai Beach at first light today, a Kauai County spokeswoman said. The woman was swept into the sea while attempting to cross the flooded Hanakapiai Stream Thursday afternoon. 

More than 50 other hikers and two rescue personnel spent the night in Hanakapiai Valley because the stream is still too swollen to cross, officials said.

The unidentified woman was reportedly attempting to cross Hanakapiai Stream at around 4:30 p.m. Thursday when she was apparently swept out to sea.

Rescue crews from the Kauai Fire Department, including the Air 1 helicopter, lifeguards from the Ocean Safety Bureau, and the Coast Guard searched until darkness fell.

The woman was one of more than 50 hikers who were stranded on the far side of the stream while heading back to the Kee Beach trailhead this afternoon, the county said in a news release.

Rescuers were already en route to the scene after being notified of the hikers in distress, but some hikers tried to cross the stream before help arrived, officials said.

Rescue 3 aboard Air 1 and the Coast Guard conducted an aerial search, while lifeguards searched along the shoreline. Firefighters from the Hanalei station also hikied into Hanakapiai to help the stranded hikers.

Fire officials reported a rise in the stream due to rain throughout the day.

Hazardous conditions created by the high water in the stream and strong winds made search and rescue efforts difficult, officials said.

The National Weather Service says about four inches of rain fell Thursday afternoon above Hanakapiai.

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