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Firefighters, Coast Guard rescue man on Kauai trail

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An 18-year-old man was airlifted from Hanakapiai Beach late last night in a joint rescue by Kauai firefighters and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The man was found on the Kalalau Trail about 10:30 p.m. by a Coast Guard pilot visiting from Oregon. The man apparently was suffering from extreme heat exhaustion and was possibly going into shock, a Kauai County news release said.

The pilot hiked out of the valley and called 911. He was informed that it was not the policy of the Kauai Fire Department to conduct night helicopter operations, but that firefighters could hike in and assess the victim.

The pilot contacted the Coast Guard station in Honolulu and told them that the situation was urgent and requested their help.

The joint operation began with two Hanalei firefighters hiking into Hanakapiai Valley and one posted at Windy Point (about a quarter-mile from the trailhead) for communications. The Coast Guard flew to Hanakapiai Beach and dropped off a crew member, who then assisted the firefighters with carrying the victim on a litter down to the beach.

The Coast Guard picked up the victim and airlifted him to Lihue Airport about midnight, where awaiting medics transported him to Wilcox Hospital.

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