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State closes Judd Trail in Nuuanu after tree falls on woman

  • COURTESY DLNR

    A large banyan tree fell on a woman and seriously injured her this morning at the Judd Trail in Nuuanu.

  • COURTESY DLNR

    A large banyan tree fell on a woman and seriously injured her this morning at the Judd Trail in Nuuanu. A sign closing the trail for safety reasons has been posted at the trail head.

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.

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    • Yes. Any serious hiker should be aware of this risk in any forest environment. Our hiking group experienced something similar at the Pupukea trail as well. When we summited, we were talking over lunch, and said how if us, or the dogs were just 5 seconds faster on the trail, that giant branch that broke and fell, would have landed right on us, instead of in front of us. I hope she recovers fully. Buddha bless. God has forsaken us a long time ago.

      • Sure, I hope the woman comes out of this with no serious injuries. But as like always will we probably see a lawsuit that the State of Hawaii did not keep the trail safe. Lawyers will probably ask the State agencies to hand over reports if any on the conditions of the surrounding trees on the trail

  • Hopefully this is not a permanent closure. I love this trail and willingly asume the risk. Now all we need to know is, did the tree make a sound when it fell or was silent. Mankind has been debating this question for ages.

  • They were pretty qui putting up the closed sign, do I need to get up there with a chain saw to clear the trail or will the state get this done sometime before the new year?

  • Trees fall every day on our trails. Just hike around it after it has fallen. No need to close a trail unless they have messed this one up too by making it handicap accessible. Once again DLNR had shown how controlling it can be without any public input needed. This in my mind is a dangerous precedent.

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