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Wrong location information delays rescue of lost hikers on Kolekole Trail

The Honolulu Fire Department dealt with wrong location information, heavy tree canopy and poor cellphone coverage before finding two lost hikers this afternoon on the Kolekole Trail.

HFD received a 911 call at 3:10 p.m. for lost hikers in Kahuku, but their actual location was in Waianae on the Kolekole Trail.

After calling the hikers back on their cellphone, an accurate geolocation was obtained.

HFD dispatched six units with 17 personnel. The first firefighters arrived at the Kunia Camp area at 3:39 p.m., securing a landing zone for Air 1.

Rescue specialists and equipment were loaded aboard the helicopter before proceeding to the location.

The hikers’ geolocation was determined to be about 2 miles from Schofield Barracks on the Kolekole Trail, but the heavy tree canopy made it difficult to locate them visually by air.

Cellphone coverage was also limited, so they asked the caller to describe whether they heard the helicopter as it flew over.

Rescue specialists aboard Air 1 made visual contact at 4:15 p.m. and made physical contact at 4:25 p.m. with the hikers, who were uninjured.

The rescuer personnel were inserted into the area, and the hikers were airlifted individually to a temporary landing zone nearby. The Air 1 pilot then landed the helicopter at the temporary landing zone, where the pair of hikers boarded the chopper and were flown together to Kunia Camp, located some distance away, arriving at 4:52 p.m.

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