Chain reaction

HANAKAPIAI — When Taryn Dizon reached the Hanakapiai Stream Sunday it was swollen and brown from the rain.

“There were a lot of people,” Dizon said. “There were people who were stopped and they didn’t know where to go.”

The Kalalau Trail, she said, had disappeared. Mud and rain had created trouble for dozens of hikers waiting on what to do next, she said.

Rescue personnel responded to three separate incidents in Hanakapiai and Ho‘olulu Valley Sunday afternoon and into the evening due the heavy rain.

No injuries were reported.

Dizon said everyone was calm for a while. People were waiting at the cave.

Then it started to pour and people started to cross, she said.

“They spoke a different language,” Dizon said. “I was trying to get them to stop. It didn’t seem like they were hearing me.”

Brown water means the heavy current is taking everything in its path, Dizon said. It’s not the time to cross.

With their bodies, the people created an anchor: Two stronger people crossed over a woman and a man. Then they crossed over a younger girl, Dizon said.

The young girl let go and got swept, but she was saved, she said.

“I was telling the people across (the stream) to go get help,” Dizon said. “The waves were chocolate. It was raining and flooding.”

Finally, a lifeguard arrived and stopped them, she said.

The firefighters who walked in from the Ke’e side of the Hanakapiai Stream advised the stranded hikers on the other side not to attempt to cross and to remain where they were until the stream was passable.

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 equip

ped with camping gear and opted to spend the night in Hanakapiai.

Dizon, an experienced pig hunter from the Westside, said in situations like these, the key to staying on top of things is being aware of your surroundings.

“Look at what’s above you,” she said. “The clouds. Understand what’s around you. And know you can’t solve anything with a quick fix. When it started to rain, people thought they had to get out of there now. They thought of a quick fix. That doesn’t work.”

Other weekend incidents involved a young woman who became separated from her group at around 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.

Air 1 with Rescue 3 aboard 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.

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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