UPDATE: 4:45 p.m.
Mauna Kea Access Road has reopened, Big Island police said.
Big Island police have closed Mauna Kea Access Road until approximately 3:30 p.m. while they continue their investigation into the crash and crews conduct cleanup operations.
There is no alternate route available.
Hawaii County police today said a 9-year-old girl died and seven others were seriously injured when the truck they were riding in lost control and rolled over while traveling down Mauna Kea Access Road at a high rate of speed on Saturday.
The Hawaii County Fire Department responded to a 911 call at 3:31 p.m. Saturday and arrived at the scene near the Mauna Kea Visitor Center at 3:50 p.m. Eight units with a total of 22 personnel, including three medic units and two helicopters, participated in efforts to rescue multiple people who were ejected when the truck came to a stop off the roadway in a ravine.
Six members of the Federal Fire Department stationed at the Pohakuloa Training Area and two paramedics from private ambulance company American Medical Response also participated in rescue efforts.
According to Big Island police Sgt. Jeremy Riddle, a 2018 Toyota Tacoma was traveling west on Mauna Kea Access Road in wet, rainy weather when the truck’s brakes failed.
After failing to negotiate a curve, the truck crossed into oncoming traffic before going off the roadway and falling approximately 200-300 feet. Five of the truck’s occupants were inside the main passenger cabin, while another three people were in the bed of the vehicle, police said.
Police believe that speed, brake failure and lack of seatbelt use appear to be factors in the crash, which remains under investigation.
According to HFD, inclement weather at the 8,000-foot level of Mauna Kea, where the crash occurred, made it impossible to airlift any of the victims, resulting in five ambulances being used to transport them.
The girl who died was riding in the back seat of the main cab and was transported to Hilo Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 5:03 p.m.
An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.
A 3-year-old boy who was also transported to HMC was later airlifted to Kapiolani Medical Center on Oahu in critical condition, police said. The female driver of the truck, 40, along with a 33-year-old male passenger, were airlifted to Queen’s Medical Center after initially being sent to HMC for treatment of their injuries.
This is the first fatal traffic collision of 2022 on Hawaii island. Police are asking for anyone who may have witnessed the collision or who has information to contact Officer Jared Cabatu at 808-961-2339 or via email at Jared.Cabatu@HawaiiCounty.gov. Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call 808-961-8300.
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