Rescuers help hikers out of Hanakapiai

HANAKAPIAI– Rescue personnel responded to three separate incidents in Hanakapiai and Ho‘olulu Valley Sunday due heavy rain.

No injuries were reported.

The first incident involved a young woman who became separated from her group about 2:30 p.m. and ended up stuck on the side of a cliff in Ho‘olulu Valley above the popular two-door cave with a hole in its ceiling. The woman was found shivering from exposure to the rain. Rescue 3 aboard Air 1 short-hauled her out and flew her to Ke’e Beach.

Simultaneously, Engine 1 walked in to the Kē‘ē side of the Hanakāpī‘ai stream, which had become swollen from the rain. The firefighters advised the stranded hikers on the other side not to attempt to cross the stream and to remain where they were until the stream was passable.

Air 1 with Rescue 3 aboard then flew up Hanakapiai Valley to help four people that were reported to be stuck below Hanakapiai Falls. The rescue specialists picked up the stranded hikers and flew them to where the other hikers were.

Rescue 3 and Engine 1 then made the decision to check on the condition of the stream as the water had slightly receded.

Upon seeing the rescue personnel wading in the water, some of the hikers decided to cross the stream. After they made it safely across, the others decided to follow. They were assisted by the rescue personnel who formed a human chain across the stream.

The only exception was a father and his young daughter who were equipped with camping gear and opted to spend the night in Hanakapiai.

Battalion Chief Jason Ornellas said, “This serves as a reminder that flash flooding can occur at any time. I urge everyone to be sure to check the weather forecast before heading out for a hike.”

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