The state Department of Land and Natural Resources closed one of Hawaii’s most popular hiking trails after a large banyan tree fell on a woman and seriously injured her this morning.
The 42-year-old woman was hiking with a group of eight people, including several children, when the tree came crashing down at the beginning of the Judd Trail, said Honolulu Fire Department Capt. David Jenkins.
The hikers had just crossed the stream and were only about five minutes into the hike when the tree fell, Jenkins said.
He described the tree as “big, really, really big.” It was about 70 feet tall with a canopy of about 70 feet wide and fell across the trail and Nuuanu stream.
Firefighters responded to the 11:20 a.m. call and found the woman pinned by the tree. Other members of the hiking party escaped without injury or with only minor scrapes.
Firefighters put her in a rescue basket and took her by helicopter to an area off Old Pali Road where paramedics were waiting.
An Emergency Medical Services report said paramedics treated the woman for multiple injuries and took her to a hospital in serious condition.
It was unclear what caused the tree to fall.
Deborah Ward, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said the trail is state property and a sign closing the trail for safety reasons has been posted at the trail head. An arborist will go out Tuesday to do an assessment, and the agency is investigating the incident.
President Obama hiked the Judd Trail on Christmas Eve with his daughters Sasha and Malia during his last vacation in Hawaii.