Missing hiker safe after night on mountain

WAILUA — A missing hiker made his way to safety Wednesday after getting lost overnight off the Kaapoko Tunnels Trail.

The 37-year-old Colorado man started the Wailua hike with friends about 9 a.m. Tuesday, and at some point before reaching the Kaapoko Tunnel, he became separated from the group.

The rest of the group hiked out of the trail several hours later. When their friend failed to turn up, they filed a missing person report around 9:30 p.m.

Police, firefighters and personnel from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources responded to the area early Wednesday and conducted ground searches with help from the victim’s friends. Rescue 3 personnel aboard Air 1 assisted with an aerial search.

The search was called off about 11 a.m. when rescuers were notified the man had made it back to his vacation rental in Hanalei.

According to police, once the hiker realized he was lost, he followed the river in hopes it would lead him out. The man walked for several hours and slept in the area overnight. He continued walking Wednesday morning until he made his way to Hanalei Valley.

A Good Samaritan came upon the distressed hiker and gave him a ride to his rental home, where he met up with the rest of his party.

The hiker told police that aside from being cold and exhausted, he suffered only minor cuts and bruises and did not require additional assistance.

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