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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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livinginhawaii wrote:
That's not as high as I thought it would be. Charging each reckless and irresponsible hiker only $30 seems fair but it would be more equitable to charge a higher rate that includes regular pay. What can't be valued is the danger they imposed on rescue workers. When ever we hike this trail we always check the weather and always bring rope and overnight equipment just in case of such an event. Running off unprepared is irresponsible. Endangering the lives of rescue workers is reckless.
on April 25,2014 | 09:50AM
copperwire9 wrote:
You can check the weather all day long, but if you have experience on NaPali, you know that the weather can change in an instant.
on April 25,2014 | 10:40AM
inverse wrote:
Less than $20,000? Chump change compared to the millions in taxes and money visitors bring in to Kauai and the State of Hawaii. With the multi millions HTA takes in Hawaii taxpayer money, they should quietly cover it and move on. That is the price for selling Hawaii as a visitors "paradise" and that is the constant message visitors are bombarded with and no one wants to bring them down by warning them about the dangerous ocean beaches around Hawaii where many visitors drown or the ones who get hurt or die hiking in Hawaii's "wonderful natural playground". Cover the costs and work on getting out a more comprehensive safety campaign to "nicely" but clearly warn visitors about the dangers of the ocean and hiking in the mountains. Also HTA could hire local hiking and mountain enthusiasts to help guide, maintain and make well traveled trails by residents and visitors are clearly labeled as "easy", "moderate", "difficult" or even "dangerous, travel at your own risk".
on April 25,2014 | 09:57AM
myviewofthings wrote:
divide up that cost and charge each of them.
on April 25,2014 | 10:11AM
copperwire9 wrote:
on April 25,2014 | 10:38AM
KaneoheSJ wrote:
The city and county should charge more of the cost of the rescues to the offenders. Signs should be posted in big bold print that anyone who ends up being rescued will be fined at least $100. If a helicopter is required to do the rescue, the fine should be higher.
on April 25,2014 | 11:55AM
copperwire9 wrote:
GEEZ. They were not "offenders."
on April 25,2014 | 04:00PM
entrkn wrote:
$3560 sounds awfully conservative for the rescue of 121 people.
on April 25,2014 | 12:07PM
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