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Helicopter rescues 7 hikers stranded on Aiea ridge

They were one of two groups of hikers who called for help

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 8:10 a.m. HST, Aug 11, 2014

The Fire Department helicopter safely extracted seven hikers, who had to spend the night on a ridge overlooking the H-3 Halawa Tunnel.

The hikers called 911 around 6:53 p.m. Sunday, after they lost their way trying to gain access to the Aiea Loop Trail. 

The Fire Department helicopter located them by 7:30 p.m. using the GPS coordinates from their cellphone, but rescuers decided to wait until first light Monday to conduct a safe helicopter lift.

The hikers were so far up the ridge that fire officials, who had begun their trek in Moanalua Valley, thought they would have to be taken out individually, using a sling from the helicopter Monday morning.

The hikers were able to attract the attention of Fire rescue personnel with flashing lights.

The department's helicopter was able to find an open spot near the stranded hikers Monday morning and flew them to a landing zone at the new Aiea Public Library beginning at 6:45 a.m. The last hiker was airlifted to safety at 7:30 a.m. 

Five fire companies participated in the rescue attempt.

Earlier on Sunday, fire rescue workers responded to a distress call in Aiea involving three hikers, two men and a woman, at 8:13 p.m., but were able to find them in the dark and escort them to safety.

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