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Honolulu firefighters airlift hikers to safety at Aiea and Diamond Head trails

Honolulu Fire Department rescue teams were kept busy today with separate calls to assist hikers at the Aiea Loop and Diamond Head trails.

A 911 call about lost hikers in Aiea came in at 4:36 p.m., with four HFD units staffed with 12 personnel dispatched to assist. The first unit arrived at the scene at 4:33 p.m. Global Positioning System coordinates from one of the hiker’s cell phones placed them near the summit of the Aiea Loop Trail, and rescue efforts were relocated to Kaneohe District Park, according to a news release.

The 26-year-old female and 28-year-old male had been hiking since morning when they called 911 for help. HFD’s Air 2 helicopter arrived at the landing zone to pick up rescue specialists before locating the lost hikers. The rescue specialists made contact with the lost hikers on the ground and secured them aboard Air 2 at 5:49 p.m., arriving at the landing zone about 10 minutes later, the release said.

The two hikers declined medical attention.

Earlier in the day, HFD received a 911 call at 1:18 p.m. to rescue a distressed hiker on the Diamond Head Trail. The caller reported that a 62-year-old male was hiking with a family member when he experienced difficulty breathing.

Five HFD units staffed with approximately 16 personnel responded, with the first unit arriving at the scene at 1:25 p.m. and ascending the trail while a landing zone was established at Diamond Head State Monument Park.

HFD personnel reached the hiker at 1:35 p.m., provided medical care and prepared him for transport aboard the Air 1 helicopter, the release said. The hiker was airlifted to the landing zone and transferred to a Honolulu Emergency Medical Services ambulance at approximately 1:58 p.m.

In light of the two incidents, HFD offered the following hiking safety tips:

>> Get information about the trail. Prior to hiking, learn about the trail you intend to hike so you will know the route, where to start, and the degree of difficulty. When you get to the trail’s entrance, read and follow signage. Be aware of restricted or closed trails.

>> Assess your capabilities. Compare your level of fitness, ability and experience with the trail description. Be practical and realistic. There are a wide variety of trails in Hawaii, so pick one that suits your level.

>> Bring a cell phone. A cell phone can be a lifesaver during an emergency, so ensure that the

battery is fully charged prior to hiking. HFD recommends packing an external backup battery.

>> Pack food and water. Stay hydrated and prepare for the unexpected.

>> Stay on the trail. Most accidents happen when hikers leave the established trail and disregard warning signs. Staying on the trail greatly reduces your chances of getting injured or lost.

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