Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023 |
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KOKE‘E — A California man hiking along a popular trail in Koke‘e Sunday got lost in heavy canopy and spent a rainy night in the state park before being rescued by helicopter Monday morning.
The 68-year-old California man, whom county officials did not identify, was hiking Waipo‘o Trail Sunday and became unsure of his location.
He was able to contact Police Dispatch from his cell phone at around 4 p.m., county officials said in a release, and the Kaua‘i Fire Department responded with the Rescue 3 crew on board the Air 1 helicopter. They flew into the area shortly after 4:30 p.m. to conduct an overhead search, while firefighters from the Waimea station hiked into the nearby Kumuwela Trail.
Heavy cloud cover forced Air 1 to retreat Sunday evening. The chopper dropped two members from the Rescue Team into an area near Waipo‘o Falls to continue the search on foot. By 8:15 p.m., the lost hiker had not yet been located.
Due to darkness and hazardous conditions the search was called off for the night. According to the National Weather Service rain gauges, over an inch of rain fell in the park between 3 p.m. Sunday and 3 a.m. Monday.
The search resumed at 5:30 a.m. Monday morning. Four firefighters hiked into the area and located the missing man at around 8 a.m. Air 1 hauled the victim and rescuers to a landing zone along the trail. They then escorted the him back to the trailhead.
The hiker was in good health and did not require medical attention, county officials said.
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