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Stranded hikers rescued from Koolau ridge

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 3:12 p.m. HST, Jul 22, 2011

The fire department helicopter this morning airlifted two hikers who were forced to spend the night on a ridge in the Koolau Mountain range in Pacific Palisades after they left the Manana Trail and got lost.

The two men in their 20s were flown to a landing zone on Waimano Home Road near Pearl City High School around 9:45 a.m. 

Capt. Terry Seelig, Honolulu Fire Department spokesman, said the air rescue operation had to be done in two phases. The hikers and fire department rescue personnel were first taken off the ridge where the two men spent the night and airlifted to a flatter area in the Koolaus where it would be safer to unload them and then flown in a separate trip to the Waimano Home Road landing zone.

He said the two men did not need medical attention. "They are just hungry and tired."

Seelig said the two men called for help just after 5 p.m. Thursday after they found themselves stranded on the ridge after veering off the three-mile Manana Trail.

Seelig said after reaching Waimano Falls, instead of backtracking, the men decided to hike down the windward side of the mountain and reached a point where they couldn't go further down or climb back up.

Seelig said two firefighters spent the night in mountains and reached the two hikers at about 8:15 this morning.

Seelig said the ridge line is at about 1,800 feet elevation, was covered by mist and clouds early this morning. The fire department helicopter had to wait until the clouds lifted before attempting the rescue.

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