When Scott and Haley Lantiegne started their hike on the Kalalau Trail early Tuesday morning, they intended to try and reach Hanakapiai Falls or at least the beach.
About a mile and a half in from the trailhead, on a rainy day, a broken leg changed their plans.
Another hiker with his wife about 30 yards in front of them slipped in the muddy conditions and took a hard fall.
“When we got to them, he still wasn’t getting up,” Scott Lantiegne said. “He looked up at us. ‘It’s broken.’”
The Lantiegnes didn’t hesitate to help.
Haley, who has a degree in sports medicine and deals with injuries, is also the type always prepared for emergencies. She was carrying bandages, wraps and medicine.
The Lantiegnes, from Corona, California, gathered branches and applied a field splint to stabilize the leg and foot. They gave the man some Advil and water and told him a few jokes to keep his mind off the pain.
Ironically, they were 20 feet away from an emergency helicopter pad and they helped carry the hiker to the clearing. They asked other hikers to call for help, and even flagged down a passing tourism helicopter to radio for search and rescue.
“My wife signaled he had a broken leg and got a thumbs up from the pilot of the helicopter,” Scott said.
It was while they were waiting for emergency help to arrive, with rain pouring down, the Lantiegnes were touched by the response of others. Passersby offered jackets, food and water to keep the injured man comfortable.
“Everyone that was on the trail offered something,” Scott said. “It was really, really neat.”
A rescue helicopter arrived about 11:15 a.m. and landed in the small clearing on the side of the mountain. Scott Lantiegne helped carry the gurney with the injured hiker to the copter.
The Lantiegnes, who spent a week on Kauai before heading out to a wedding on Oahu Friday, called it a day and never did reach Hanakapiai. No worries, said Scott. He and Haley were glad they were there when needed.
“This was an amazing rescue and support by everyone involved,” he said.
Scott Lantiegne said he heard from the man who was treated at the hospital for his leg injury. The two exchanged contacts and planned to stay in touch.
“This will be a lifetime friend and we are thankful for the happy ending,” Scott said, adding, “just wished it didn’t happen on their 12th year wedding anniversary.”