KOKE‘E — A trio riding mules in Koke‘e late last week became the subjects of a search and rescue when one of them fell and hit his head, resulting in severe injuries.
The man, a 70-year-old Kekaha resident, is in stable condition at The Queen’s Medical Center after the Kukui Trail accident in Koke‘e last Friday night.
The man and two friends were riding mules when they left the trailhead at around 10 p.m. and set off on a hunting expedition. About an hour later, the Kekaha man fell off his mule and hit his head on a rock.
One of the men exited the trail and called for help.
Four firefighters from the Waimea station responded to the call including Capt. Jason Ornellas, apparatus operator Kalani Abreu and firefighters Nicholas Hill and Imai Karrati.
After loading up their gear and making the necessary arrangements with Rescue 3 and Air-1 for a morning pick-up, the Waimea fire crew headed up to Koke‘e.
They arrived at the trailhead at around 12:30 a.m. and hiked down 2 miles to where the victim and his friends were, reaching the scene at around 2:30 a.m.
“Our first priority was to stabilize the victim and provide him with what he needed to get through the night, which included giving him oxygen from a tank we brought in,” said Ornellas, according to a county press release.
“We spent the night with him and tried our best to make him as comfortable as possible given the circumstances.”
At first light, Air-1 flew in, retrieved the victim, and took him to Waimea Canyon Park, where awaiting medics transported the victim to Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial Hospital.
Air-1 returned to the Kukui Trail for the Waimea fire crew and flew them to their staging area at the Kalalau Lookout.
Later that morning, the victim was airlifted to The Queen’s Medical Center in critical condition.