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Kauai County estimates cost to rescue 121 hikers

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 10:27 a.m. HST, Apr 25, 2014

One of the largest rescue operations in recent memory cost Kauai County $3,560.68 in overtime pay and fuel costs.

Rescue crews and the Fire Department helicopter evacuated 121 hikers stranded by rising stream waters near Hanakapiai on Kauai's Na Pali Coast earlier this month.

Firefighters worked over two days, starting on April 6, to airlift the hikers across a fast-flowing Hanakapiai Stream.

The amount spent included $2,175.81 in overtime pay for Kauai fire fighters and $278.46 for police officers.

The fuel to keep the county's helicopter in the air was $1,106.41.

The county did not calculate the regular pay of the police and firefighters involved in the rescue.

Sarah Blane, Kauai County spokeswoman, said: "Regular pay was not included in the calculation as on-duty personnel would have been paid regardless of the rescue. Also, costs for pilot time and maintenance of the county's Air 1 rescue helicopter is included in the current contract with Airborne Aviation."

The fire department's Air 1 helicopter and rescue crews helped 23 hikers across the stream on the afternoon of April 6, before darkness set in. Several children were among those rescued including an 18-month-old boy and a 12-year-old boy who was swept away in the swift waters. The boy was able to climb onto rocks from the water and remained stranded there for over four hours until rescuers arrived.

Two rescue specialists stayed overnight with the remaining 98 hikers until first light April 7, when all were flown to safety,

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