37 hikers rescued

HANAKAPI‘AI — A rapid rise in the water level Tuesday evening led to rescuers assisting 37 hikers unable to cross Hanakapi‘ai stream.

The Kaua‘i Fire Department said it responded to a dispatch call of several hikers trapped in Hanakapi‘ai Valley around 5:45 p.m. The caller reported one hiker was asthmatic and needed medication.

At about 6 p.m., KFD reported that Rescue 3 flew into the valley aboard Air 1. They located 37 people stranded on the far side of the stream and unable to cross during a high water event.

Rescuers began by transporting seven hikers to Ke‘e Beach by air. These priority hikers included the asthmatic male from Virginia, a pregnant woman and her husband from Idaho, a Texas woman, and a Utah couple hiking with their 10-week-old infant.

All seven were released at the scene by medics.

The remaining 30 hikers crossed the stream with the help of a rope line as the water level receded. Rescuers monitored as the hikers made their way back to the head of the trail on their own.

In light of this incident, the Kaua’i Fire Department is cautioning hikers to be aware of the weather and conditions before venturing out.

“We don’t want to discourage people from enjoying Kaua’i’s natural beauty,”  Kaua’i Fire Chief Robert Westerman said. “But nature can be a dangerous place if you’re not prepared.  So please, be prepared and stay safe.”

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