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Stranded hiker rescued from closed Sacred Falls trail

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 05:07 p.m. HST, Mar 19, 2014

Firefighters rescued a man in his 20s on Wednesday morning after he became separated from three other men and had to spend the night on the closed Sacred Falls trail.

Capt. Terry Seelig, Honolulu Fire Department spokesman, said a group of four men -- all of them in their 20s -- entered the area around 5 p.m.

Only three came out at 7 p.m., but they didn't call authorities until just before 1 a.m.

Fire rescue personnel made voice contact with the remaining hiker around 3:30 a.m., but waited until first light to send in the helicopter to rescue him.

Sacred Falls State Park has been closed since Mother's Day 1999 when eight people were killed during a rockfall.

Seelig said law enforcement officers from the Department of Land and Natural Resources were also at the landing zone. Hiking in the area is a petty misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a minimum fine of $100 for the first offense.

In April 2012, after firefighters rescued a woman who hurt her leg while hiking at Sacred Falls State Park, state officials cited her and six hiking companions for illegally entering the closed park.

Two months later DLNR cited an 18-year-old visitor for hiking into Sacred Falls State Park and issued warnings to two teenage boys hiking with her.

In 2003, the state agreed to pay $8.56 million to the rockfall victims' families, who said warning signs were inadequate at the park at the time of the rockfall.

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control wrote:
Let's see....closed trail, started hike at 5 pm, waited until 1 am to call for help. Beyond clueless. Time to charge the bozos for HFD's time and expenses.
on March 19,2014 | 07:51AM
Big C wrote:
I agree with you 100%. Charge them for the rescue. Why should the general public have to pay for their illegal and sometimes "STUPID" actions.
on March 19,2014 | 07:58AM
serious wrote:
Right. I would think a chain across the entrance with a sign on it.
on March 19,2014 | 09:57AM
baileygirl9631 wrote:
A $100 is nothing. They ought to bang them for at least $500. And they always sue the State whether it was common sense or not to go there when they get hurt by Mother Nature, and usually win.
on March 19,2014 | 01:50PM
MC96816 wrote:
True dat. $500 minimum for first offense. And charge for the rescue.
on March 19,2014 | 05:46PM
waverider808 wrote:
the rescued guy really had good friends. left him behind to fend for himself and didn't call for rescue until 6 hours later. fine all of them and I agree with the other poster, charge them for the rescue. all of them equally.
on March 19,2014 | 08:24AM
SueH wrote:
"In 2003, the state agreed to pay $8.56 million to the rockfall victims' families, who said warning signs were inadequate at the park at the time of the rockfall." Even if signs had been posted there as big as mainland billboards, do you think the people would have stayed out???? I GREATLY doubt it. These people only use the lack of signage as an excuse to sue. They assume a certain degree of liability when they enter the area.
on March 19,2014 | 08:58AM
kiragirl wrote:
Park was open when it happened
on March 19,2014 | 09:14AM
oiwi808 wrote:
I think you're missing the point...regardless if the trail was open or closed NO sign would prevent people from going in. If the park was open & there was a sign 200' X 200' saying "DANGER ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK" people would still go and then blame the state for not giving enough of a warning that danger was present. These people & their lawyers are in it for the money...we pay for their stupidity.
on March 19,2014 | 10:27AM
SueH wrote:
Bingo!! Exactly my point. The issue has nothing to do with the park being open or closed, but rather about the effectiveness of signage. Nobody pays attention to the signs until something bad happens, then complains the signs didn't supply enough warning.
on March 19,2014 | 12:20PM
mille1dog wrote:
Stupid is as stupid does. Fine all of them and make it hurt!
on March 19,2014 | 09:18AM
iwanaknow wrote:
Fine them and jail time too......start getting back some of that 8 million?
on March 19,2014 | 09:40AM
LMO wrote:
This is a beautiful park and waterfall. Fix the liability issues and reopen it to the public.
on March 19,2014 | 10:24AM
baileygirl9631 wrote:
Won't do any good. Mother Nature does her thing and we still get sued . I think it's ludicrous to allow people to sue for stuff like this. Nobody forced them to go there in the first place.
on March 19,2014 | 01:54PM
juscasting wrote:
The trail is a novice trail, gotta be smart if you want to enter the closed park, go in at sunrise not at sunset you Lo Lo's. Signs dont' mean nothing!
on March 19,2014 | 10:25AM
browniegirl wrote:
Starting a hike ANYWHERE at 5pm is beyond lolo. I'm not interested in picking up the tab to rescue someone who purposely entered a closed trail. Charge the cost of the rescue. Tack on a fee for stupidity.
on March 19,2014 | 10:26AM
DABLACK wrote:
Will this issue be "swept under the rug" ??
on March 19,2014 | 10:31AM
ez_tiga wrote:
Fine all of them and sue them for ignorance.
on March 19,2014 | 10:32AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Another lolo taxpayers have to rescue from himself.
on March 19,2014 | 10:32AM
cojef wrote:
This hiking trail cannot be made rock-slide-proof as lava rocks are in a constant state of decomposition. Other than danger sign warnings indicating, "hike at your own risk" there are no other alternatives other than closed to the public, period!
on March 19,2014 | 11:28AM
lowtone123 wrote:
Sacred Falls State Park has been closed since Mother's Day 1999 when eight people were killed during a rockfall.
on March 19,2014 | 11:39AM
mineeyes wrote:
Have the courts reprimand rescued hikers by having them go back and do trail clearing at the site. Should help them remember their trek and not get lost next time. Maybe.
on March 19,2014 | 11:33AM
lowtone123 wrote:
Going on a hike up the mountain to see the sunset seemed like a good idea. Oops.
on March 19,2014 | 11:37AM
rayhawaii wrote:
He should pay the fine plus cost to rescue his dumb A.
on March 19,2014 | 12:01PM
Papakolea wrote:
As part of his punishment, they should post his name and mug shot in the paper. Let the world see what stupid looks like.
on March 19,2014 | 12:04PM
juscasting wrote:
I agree! But sadly we all have a teaspoon of stupidity in us, that's why one someone invented the mirror!
on March 19,2014 | 12:34PM
2NDC wrote:
A 30 day stint in jail should send a message to future "hikers" who choose to willfully disregard the posted signs and venture into areas where they don't belong. It's just a hunch but I'm thinking that the group was headed into the mountains to check and/or maintain their "crops". The violator should be responsible for the expenses incurred to rescue them, not Hawaii taxpayers.
on March 19,2014 | 12:58PM
bluespop wrote:
Impose whatever the maximum penalty is for trespassing, and charge them for the rescue. Starting a hike at 5 p.m. and not calling for help until 1 a.m. seems very shady. Growing pakalolo, perhaps?
on March 19,2014 | 01:10PM
OldEnoughToRemember wrote:
Allow access with an at will, full liability clause of responsibility of the hikers, but should anything go wrong, institute a mandatory $10,000 fine, serve 30 days cost of rescue.
on March 19,2014 | 02:07PM
Sugarr wrote:
Bill hiker for the rescue !!!
on March 19,2014 | 03:17PM
usahwn wrote:
Kids will be kids.
on March 19,2014 | 08:45PM
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