Hiker airlifted from Hanakapi‘ai

HANAKAPI‘AI — A California man who fell while hiking and the four firefighters who rescued him were airlifted from the Hanakapi‘ai Trail early Tuesday after spending the night in the valley.

The call for assistance came in at about 7 p.m. Monday evening after the 23-year-old man reportedly fell and hit his head while hiking near the falls.

County Rescue 3 aboard the Air 1 rescue helicopter had only enough time to drop two rescue specialists into the valley before nightfall forced the aircraft to head back. Two firefighters from the Hanalei station also hiked in from the trailhead to assist.

The four rescuers provided aid to the victim and stayed with him overnight until Air 1 could return to the scene at daybreak this morning.

“This incident speaks to how unpredictable a firefighter’s job is and how adaptable they need to be,” said Fire Chief Robert Westerman. “Leaving this patient was not an option and neither is flying at night.  We are here to provide the best service possible in as safe a manner as possible.”

The victim was airlifted to Princeville Airport where awaiting medics transported him to Wilcox Memorial Hospital. His condition was unknown at press time.

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