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•Learning from experience
•Shame on you
Learning from experience
On Sept. 3, I was hiking to Hanakapi‘ai Falls with my son and was almost at the falls when I slipped and fell on a large slippery flat rock around 11 a.m.
Unable to move because of excruciating pain (my hip was broken) I lay there on the rock for about an hour when a hiker on the way back to Ke‘e Beach agreed to alert the lifeguard station at Ke‘e that I needed to be rescued.
About four hours later, four Kaua‘i Fire Department rescuers arrived at my fall site, having swum through the surf from their Zodiac at Hanakapi‘ai beach and hiked the two miles to where I was still lying. Their leader explained that the normal Kaua‘i air rescue helicopter was not available but they would try to get Honolulu Coast Guard to send a rescue ‘copter.
About 1.5 hours later the CG helicopter arrived off Hanakapi‘ai Beach. Unfortunately, around 6 p.m. the CG helicopter pilot decided it was too risky to fly up the valley to where I was. He then flew back to Honolulu.
So, at 6 p.m. the FD rescue team proceeded to hand carry me the two miles to Hanakapi‘ai Beach in the litter basket they had brought with them. This turned out to be an extremely arduous and painful six-hour trek.
On the way to the beach we were joined by a fifth fire man who had come via another Zodiac trip from Hanalei and swum through the surf and hiked the trail to us in the dark. Also, Bill Summers who has worked on his own to maintain the Kalalau Trail met us on the way back to the beach. Bill had heard of my plight that evening from emergency crews at Ke‘e and immediately set out to see if he could be of assistance. He provided additional trail lighting, water, snacks, blanket and poncho protection from the rain for me.
Around 7 a.m. Sept. 4, having spent seven hours at the “shelter” just above Hanakapi‘ai Beach, a helicopter chartered by Kaua‘i FD landed on the beach and flew me out. The next day I had partial hip replacement surgery at Wilcox hospital.
I am now recovering from the ordeal and would like to share some observations and recommendations.
The KFD rescuers were magnificent. On the difficult nighttime trek back to the beach they continuously put my safety first, often at the expense of hurting themselves.
Other hikers, many of whom were visiting tourists, showed great concern and compassion for me, offering food, water and ice. One couple who were visiting from Minnesota stayed with me at my fall site for several hours to provide some degree of comfort and to help if I went in to shock.
Bill Summers provided physical and moral support that was above and beyond what I would have ever expected from a complete civilian stranger. His is truly a selfless and compassionate man and great asset to Kaua‘i.
The state or county should repair and maintain the primitive shelter at Hanakapi‘ai Beach. The roof is so rusted out that it provided absolutely no shelter from the numerous rain showers that night.
Kaua‘i County should have a backup helicopter arrangement for rescuing people in remote locations. Had a helicopter taken me out of where I fell on the day I fell I would not have suffered much of the pain I endured or possibly not suffered the medical complications that occurred later. However, I am most grateful and still sincerely thank Kaua‘i County for their rescuing me. Seeing their chartered helicopter land on the beach on the morning of Sept. 4 was like seeing an angel descend from heaven.
Peter Nilsen, Princeville
Shame on you
As I was relaxing in my car at Kukui‘ula Harbor last Friday, I witnessed a display of such disgust and disrespect from two, young kids (early 20s) towards a state worker that made me feel sick afterwards.
The state worker politely informed the young couple that it is unsafe to be swimming where the boats moor at the dock.
The boy and girl began yelling and swearing at her all the filthy words in the book — especially the girl, who even though she was a pretty young woman, she made herself look ugly with all that cussing from her mouth.
She also threatened to take the worker’s shovel and “whack her over the head” with it.
Both told the worker to “shut the @*&% up!” Then they jumped into their truck and burned rubber all the way down the dock. The girl threw a pile of rubbish out of her window at the lady worker still yelling the F word.
It all happened so fast I was completely dumb struck. I am an old man, but in all my years I have never seen kids act so terribly and be so stupid. These two young folks better shape up or they may one day be doing community service picking up trash or something worse. Shame on you!
Sam Opunui, Honolulu
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