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Hiker dies from fall off trail in Punaluu

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A 29-year-old man died Thursday after he fell several hundred feet while hiking at the closed Castle Trail in Punaluu Valley.

His name has yet to be released by the Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office.

At about 7 p.m. Thursday, the Honolulu Fire Department responded to a call from a group of six hikers from Oahu that a fellow hiker also from Oahu was missing and possibly fell.

Firefighters including the department’s Air 1 helicopter responded and located the body of the seventh hiker at about 10:49 p.m., said Honolulu Fire Spokesman Capt. David Jenkins.

Rainy and windy conditions as well as darkness hampered rescue efforts and air operations were suspended for the night. Jenkins said three firefighters stayed with the group of hikers and sheltered in place.

Air 1 resumed operations at dawn this morning and the body of the seventh hiker was airlifted to a landing zone off of Green Valley Road in Punaluu.

Jenkins said the six other hikers — two men and four women — who were uninjured were also airlifted to safety.

During rescue efforts at Punaluu, the fire department received another distress call involving two visitors at the closed Haiku Stairs, also known as Stairway to Heaven, just before 7 a.m. today.

Jenkins said the hikers, a man and woman in their 20s, attempted to access Haiku Stairs from the Kaneohe side and ran into trouble. They called 911 and the fire department deployed its Air 2 helicopter to the site.

Jenkins said the rescue helicopter airlifted the hikers to Kaneohe District Park. There were no reports of any injuries.

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