MOUNTAIN RESCUES AFTER SUNSET

The Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) responded to two 911 calls, one each on Tuesday, May 18 and Wednesday, May 19, 2021 for hikers needing to be rescued in the mountains after the sun had set.  To perform these rescues safely and efficiently in a limited visibility environment, the HFD committed aircraft support, technical rescue capabilities, and firefighting personnel to perform the search, medical assessment, and ground extraction tasks.  The following are descriptions of the two emergency incidents:

Tuesday, May 18, 2021             Crouching Lion Trail- Lost Hikers                                            

The HFD received a 911 call at 7:21 p.m. for a group of lost hikers on the Crouching Lion Trail in Kaaawa.  Four units staffed with 12 personnel responded.  The first firefighters arrived at the trailhead near Kamehameha Highway at 7:28 p.m.  They ascended the trail by foot and were joined a short time later by rescue specialists to continue the ground search.  The search focused on the geolocation provided by their cellular phone on the initial 911 call for help.  Fortunately, the phone’s battery capacity was at 50% when the 911 call was made.  After searching for about 20 minutes, the HFD personnel made contact with the hikers at 7:57 p.m.  Four females, ranging from 18-20 years of age were hiking for about 1.5 hours while visiting O’ahu and lost their way on the trail after the sun set and visibility became limited.  After determining there were no injuries, the hikers descended the trail on foot with the assistance of the HFD and exited safely and uninjured at 8:18 p.m.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021       Maunawili Falls Trail- Lost Hikers                                 

The HFD received a 911 call at 7:27 p.m. for a group of lost hikers on the Maunawili Falls Trail.  Five units staffed with 16 personnel responded.  The first firefighters arrived at Maleko Street at 7:39 p.m. to access the trail by foot and joined a short time later by rescue specialists to continue the ground search.  The search focused on the geolocation provided by their cellular phone on the initial 911 call for help.  Fortunately, the phone’s battery capacity was at 25% when the 911 call was made.  The HFD personnel made contact with the hikers at 8:04 p.m.  Two males, ages 22 and 23 were accompanying a 22-year old female on their two-hour hiking excursion while visiting O’ahu and got lost after the sun set and visibility became limited.  After determining there were no injuries, the hikers descended the trail on foot with the assistance of the HFD and exited safely and uninjured at 8:37 p.m.

Hiker Safety Tips

  • Begin your hike to allow time to enjoy the outdoor experience while having enough time and daylight to exit safely.
  • Please know what time the sun sets knowing that darkness happens sooner on the Eastside of the island.  Plan on exiting the trail well before darkness arrives.
  • Ensure your cellular phone is fully charged before hiking and carry a spare power supply so that if you have to call 911 for help, a geolocation can be identified from your phone assisting the HFD in search efforts.

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