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Hiker who died after falling from Palolo trail ID'd

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 02:50 a.m. HST, Oct 09, 2013

The Medical Examiner's office has identified the 23-year-old woman who died after falling 30 to 35 feet into a waterfall pool at the Kaau Crater Trail in Palolo as Kaitlan Prugger, a University of Hawaii graduate student.

The victim died of cranial cerebral injuries due to a fall, according to the autopsy report. The death is classified as accidental.

According to a Honolulu Fire Department report, Prugger was hiking with two other hikers above the first waterfall on the trail on Oct. 5. Prugger was trying to get a picture looking down the falls and apparently lost her footing and fell into the pool, fire officials reported.

Her death was reported Monday on the website "Crossfit Fringe," a gym in Columbia, Mo., where she went to college, noting: "If you knew her, the idea of those being her final moments are in a weird way somewhat comforting, at least to me. She was in her element, always on an adventure -- seeking out moments and places to rival her immense passion for life."

Prugger's Facebook profile said she became a UH graduate student researcher in July. Previously, she worked as a coach at Crossfit South Miami in Florida, from January to April. Prugger graduated from the University of Missouri in 2012 with a degree in chemistry.

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Tahitigirl55 wrote:
They need to educate these hikers. The stairway to heaven is closed and people still hike it and do you think anyone cares? No not at all. Let someone fall and get killed and see what happens. I see light up there at all hours of the morning and they park by my home, dogs bark people don't care. Call HPD and they are too busy eating donuts and drinking coffee. We have big problems with people not being able to read signs or let alone what does those sign mean? Today lawyers make money. What a shame. Hawaii laws need to get strick. Homeless - get rid of now.
on October 8,2013 | 11:58AM
MakaniKai wrote:
Tahitigirl55: I agree with your post. I drive the H3 six days a week and constantly see hikers going up and down the “stairway to heaven.” It is a shame that people have no respect for the surrounding neighborhood or regard for safety. There is a reason the stairway is closed. Unfortunately the beauty of Hawaii can be fatal.
on October 8,2013 | 12:14PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Where is this Stairway to Heaven? I guess I don't look off the road enough. Is it on the windward side or the town side of the tunnels?
on October 8,2013 | 01:57PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
HH, where are you originally from?
on October 8,2013 | 02:20PM
Fred01 wrote:
Usually it's only the locals who don't know where such places are. It's the culture...fat and lazy.
on October 8,2013 | 03:27PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Please don't feed the troll.
on October 8,2013 | 04:32PM
false wrote:
Keep the stairway hidden and a secret. Enough already.
on October 8,2013 | 05:52PM
Snator wrote:
Perhaps we need to educate the public the REAL reason why the stairway to heaven is closed, and it's not for safety reasons. Tahitigirl's post has NOTHING to do with this story about the Palolo Falls accident either, especially the last sentence "Homeless -get rid of now" HUH? Stay on topic!!!
on October 8,2013 | 02:40PM
Tahitigirl55 wrote:
True - but since it was a hiker that fell to her death why not mention regarding other hiking trials. These people are from the mainland and not understand the danger.
on October 8,2013 | 02:53PM
Fred01 wrote:
Go back to Tahiti loser.
on October 8,2013 | 03:33PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Go back to Selma,Freda.
on October 8,2013 | 09:56PM
Fred01 wrote:
Where's Selma? Go back to your tent in Nanakuli, boss slob.
on October 9,2013 | 10:27AM
allie wrote:
good old useless hpd
on October 8,2013 | 01:16PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Allie, state land, sheriffs responsibility.
on October 8,2013 | 02:20PM
f206 wrote:
What the hell does HPD have to do with this? Probably "The Stupidest" thing this allie person has said on here, and that's saying something!!!!
on October 9,2013 | 05:25AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Very sorry, as I myself was a graduate student at UH once.
on October 8,2013 | 01:55PM
control wrote:
One has to wonder if this generation of 20 somethings suffer from a higher mortality rate than previous generations. Only time will tell.
on October 8,2013 | 02:40PM
Tahitigirl55 wrote:
Not to mention that this uneducated girls family will be sueing the State. Some lawyer will be knocking on her parents door or id she is married they will contact her husband and find some loop hold and bingo they make money on her part.
on October 8,2013 | 02:58PM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
Your lack of compassion for this girl and her family is disgusting. Please leave.
on October 8,2013 | 03:06PM
MakaniKai wrote:
Perhaps Tahitigirl55 is sick and tired of hikers showing up in her windward neighborhood at zero dark thirty and throughout the day to ascend the STH and her compassion has grown thin – but your comment is less than polite. Over the years respect for neighborhoods, beaches, locations that are kapu etc…..has been usurped by the “I wanna” “Ainokea” attitude. Again; the nei and its beauty can be dangerous, proceed with caution!
on October 8,2013 | 03:18PM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
Which part of my comment is impolite? I said 'please'.
on October 8,2013 | 03:39PM
Fred01 wrote:
You are absolutely pathetic. Get lost.
on October 8,2013 | 03:34PM
copperwire9 wrote:
Are you always so horrible, or is this a special occasion?
on October 8,2013 | 05:50PM
false wrote:
The common sense is to stay out of the mountains when it rains. No amount of education can make up for that. The loss of this child, someone's child, grand-child is unspeakable but Hawaii can't pay for all these misjudgments of the power of nature. Follow the local customs and do what makes sense. Mountains and rain are not sociable environments, consider the risks.
on October 8,2013 | 05:57PM
Papakolea wrote:
Deepest condolences to her friends and family.
on October 8,2013 | 06:29PM
kiragirl wrote:
May God bless. My heart goes out to her friends and family.
on October 8,2013 | 07:29PM
Oio wrote:
Lately, I cringe whenever I hear of such tragic deaths of young people. So sad. Even if avoidable, stuff happens. Always remember, all it takes is a split second to be killed, by accident, by carelessness, by design. A split second isn't very long. Everyone should scope out our activities, and our behaviors, and how it could impact our own life and those around us. Be safe everyone please.
on October 8,2013 | 07:54PM
Oio wrote:
Condolences to Ms. Prugger and her loved ones. Very sad.
on October 8,2013 | 07:59PM
808Cindy wrote:
A precious life lost is always sad. May your family find comfort and peace in God.
on October 9,2013 | 07:19AM
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