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Hiker from China rescued after getting lost in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 07:18 a.m. HST, Aug 24, 2013

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park rangers and a helicopter pilot on Friday rescued a 76-year-old Chinese visitor who got lost while hiking Thursday.

Park officials said Zigui Yuan, 76, was found at daybreak after being reported missing by his wife at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Yuan became lost near Pu'u Huluhulu cinder cone, where there is little or no cell phone reception, they said. His wife told rangers that the couple and a female friend had been hiking Thursday morning when he separated from the women at the Pu'u Huluhulu trailhead.

When he didn’t return, the women reported him missing to a park ranger at Thurston Lava Tube.

Park rangers searched for him until 1 a.m. and resumed the search at daybreak with the help of helicopter pilot David Okita who spotted Yuan about 660 feet southwest of Pu'u Huluhulu, officials said.

Yuan was cold, dehydrated, and exhausted, but had no major injuries, and declined medical treatment, officials said. He was reunited with his wife at 6:30 a.m., they said.

He told rescuers that after becoming lost, he took shelter against the wind in a small depression in the old lava flows, and waited for daylight. Temperatures in the park regularly plunge into the 50s.

"Mr. Yuan made the right decision to hunker down for the night," said ranger John Broward, search and rescue coordinator at the park. "This area is riddled with unstable ground, hidden earth cracks, deep craters, and sharp and brittle lava. He could have been seriously injured if he continued trying to find his way out in the dark."

This was the 14th search and rescue incident in the park this year, compared to 26 incidents for all of last year.

Park officials said hiking tips and other safety information is available at www.nps.gov/havo, or by asking rangers.

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Pocho wrote:
LOSE MONEY! Crazy tourists hiking in volcanic areas
on August 23,2013 | 04:30PM
Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
Lighten up, Pocho. Just as many, if not more, locals get in trouble while hiking throughout the state. Of COURSE tourists are going to want to get out and hike while they are here. What would you have them do, spend their whole vacation cooped up in a hotel room? Cut them a little slack. Your comments are very mean spirited towards people who are the lifeblood of our economy. Here's some advice: Don't even think of becoming a tour guide.
on August 23,2013 | 06:13PM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Actually I have observed very few "locals" requiring a rescue. If you follow these stories closely the majority of these individuals are irresponsible reckless transplants from the mainland.
on August 24,2013 | 09:19AM
cojef wrote:
Travel agencies should advice clients never to venture alone into remote areas by themselves as there are many unseen dangers. Even islanders get lost or are injured as many of the trails are hazardous and unmarked. Same goes with swimming at unknown beaches. Even experienced hikers get lost without adequate preparations.
on August 24,2013 | 09:52AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Again its reckless and irresponsible to leave someone behind without someone who is experienced on the trail when hiking in a group.
on August 23,2013 | 05:13PM
paniolo wrote:
Stay with your group. This is what happens when you go off on your own.
on August 23,2013 | 08:24PM
tutulois wrote:
I'm glad this one came out well. But with the increase in Chinese tourists, and incidents like this, the state, tour companies, and airlines need to do a better job communicating the dangers of hiking, ocean activities, etc. Seems like common sense, but in many cases there's a language barrier. And also, people on vacation -- no matter where they are from - often seem to think they are free to do anything. They need to be reminded to use their common sense.
on August 24,2013 | 09:01AM
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