HAIKU, MAUI – At 1:56 a.m. this morning firefighters received a call for seven hikers possibly lost on the Commando Trail in East Maui. The parent of one of the hikers reported her son overdue after finding the son’s car still parked at the trailhead.
Paia firefighters and a Kahului rescue, aided by an East Maui Irrigation employee, found the group about a 90 minute hike into the Commando Trail, at an area known as the “Lava Tube”. The group was safe and were waiting for daylight and stream flows to recede.
The group of 3 males and 4 females in their early to mid-twenties began their hike at about noon yesterday. On their return trip, rising stream waters prevented them from crossing over so they decided it was safer to wait it out overnight. The area has poor cell phone coverage, and they were not able to call for help.
Air 1 was used to airlift the hikers to a landing zone on Hana Highway, with the last one safely transferred by 6:51 a.m. The hikers were uninjured and declined paramedics. One of the men is a Maui resident. The others are part of a traveling nurses program and are living and working on Maui temporarily.
The group did the right thing by waiting it out on safe ground, rather than risk injury or death attempting to cross a swollen stream that could easily sweep you off your feet and wash you downstream. Maui Fire Department reminds all mountain hikers; Pay attention to rain clouds present or developing in the mountains above. If it’s raining above, never cross dry stream beds. When trapped by rising stream flow, turn around, and wait on high ground. Never be in a rush to get back. Waiting it out may save your life.