KIHEI – Yesterday afternoon around 4:55 p.m., firefighters responded to a kite surfer reportedly in distress off shore of the Maui Sunset Condominiums, in South Maui.
Kihei firefighters arrived at 5:01 p.m. and spotted a person and kite in the water about 300 yards off shore. Beachgoers called it in after seeing the kite go in the water and the surfer unable to get it back up. After firefighters on surfboards could not bring the man in, a Kahului crew on rescue watercraft eventually brought the kite surfer to shore at 5:50 p.m.
The man had no injuries.
The 63 year-old man from La Jolla, California, said the kite’s lines got tangled around his ankles so he was unable to fly his kite. Adding to the trouble was that the kite got caught in the current and he couldn’t swim in. The man said he was an experienced kite surfer and he has never had something like this happen.
Firefighters from Kihei and Rescue 10 from Kahului responded.
KANAIO, MAUI – This past Monday at 7:12 p.m., firefighters were dispatched for a hiker who had lost his way in the Makena area of South Maui.
Kula firefighters were notified that a 19 year-old male hiker started his hike at around 1 p.m. from the Wailea area, and headed south towards Makena. The man called 911 dispatchers for help after darkness set in and he was unable to find his way back. He did not know where he was, but dispatchers were able to get his GPS position from his mobile phone, which was pinged somewhere near the shoreline in the Kanaio area, about four miles East of La Perouse Bay, in Makena.
Firefighters contacted Ulupalakua Ranch for assistance in gaining access to the remote area in Kanaio, makai of Piilani Highway. Before firefighters could reach the area with all-terrain vehicles, a ranch employee used an ATV to drive down the 2 mile lava rock trail and found the hiker on the “King’s Trail” near the ocean, just west of the Auwahi Windmills.
The hiker was brought up to firefighters waiting on Piilani Highway at around 9:30 p.m., where the man was given fluids to drink. He was uninjured but really thirsty, since he had not brought any food or water with him. A fire battalion chief drove the man back to Kihei. The man is visiting from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and is staying with friends in Kihei.
WALUKU – Sunday afternoon, firefighters responded to three separate incidents of teenagers caught by unexpected flash flooding along the Iao Stream, in the Wailuku area of Central Maui.
At 1:34 p.m., fire crews were dispatched to Kepaniwai Park in Iao Valley, for people swept downstream by flood waters. Wailuku firefighters arrived at the park at 1:46 p.m. and learned that an 11 year-old male and 12 year-old female had been assisted out of the stream by by-standers prior to their arrival. Paramedics treated the pair for minor bumps and scraps. The children are residents of Wailuku.
As firefighters were confirming everyone at the park was accounted for, 911 dispatchers informed crews of another possible swift-water rescue at Iao Valley State Park. A Kahului rescue crew en route to Kepaniwai Park was redirected to the second incident at the State Park. Rescue 10 arrived at 1:56 p.m. and learned that an 18-year-old male resident from Haiku was stranded on the south side of Iao Stream.
The man was swimming with four other family members at the popular swimming holes along the footpath within the park, when they heard sounds of rocks rumbling just before the rush of water forced them to scramble up the embankment. The man became stranded on the opposite side because it was the quickest path to safety. Rescue crews used a rope secured across the stream to walk the man safely across. No one was injured.
At 2:05 p.m. firefighters from Kahului responded to yet another call for two stranded teenagers in an area of Iao Stream, roughly a half-mile above Mokuhau Park in Happy Valley. Crews arrived at 2:19 p.m. and learned that a group of seven children from Wailuku, ranging in ages from 10 to 16, were swimming at a local swimming hole when a flash flood caught them by surprise. A 15 year-old female and a 16 year-old male managed to scramble up the side of the stream. A resident on Iao Valley road used a rope to help the teens up to his property on the south side of the stream. A fire battalion chief picked up the teens and drove them back to Mokuhau Park where firefighters were gathering information. None of the teens were injured.
Despite only a light drizzle in Iao Valley when firefighters arrived, it was not apparent that flash flood conditions was occurring higher upslope. However, dark clouds were seen deeper within the valley. A check of weather radar at 1:50 p.m. did show a heavy downpour over the West Maui mountains. In fact, a flash flood advisory was in effect for several hours Sunday night in the upper elevations of Maui – with downslope areas warned as well.
The public is reminded to be alert when swimming in mountain streams. Pay attention to the weather, and be vigilant if there are dark clouds in the mountains upslope of you. If you hear a strange rumbling sound like river rocks being tossed into each other, if you notice the water quickly turning brown or rising very rapidly, find the quickest path to high ground. Once on high ground, wait until rescuers arrive or until flood waters recede. Don’t attempt to walk out on your own because it will make it more difficult for rescuers to locate you or confirm that you are safe. Also, you could become lost or injured while attempting to find your own way out.
Firefighters from Wailuku and Kahului, along with a battalion chief responded to the incidents.
At 1:25 p.m., Paia firefighters arrived at the Bamboo Forest trailhead and met with hikers who said three people were trapped on the Kahului side of the stream near the first pond. Air 1 located and airlifted one-by-one, two males and a female from the stream bank to a pasture near Hana Highway.
Rescue crews delivered the last hiker to the landing zone by 2 p.m. All three were uninjured.
A male visitor from Canada got separated from his group and couldn’t cross the stream because of rising waters. He was joined by a female from Wailuku and her male friend visiting from out-of-state. All were on their way back to the parking lot when they were stranded on the last crossing. Stream flows had risen high enough that they opted to wait rather than risk the crossing.
All three hikers were in their early to mid-twenties.
Paia firefighters, the rescue crew from Kahului and Air 1 responded to the call.
Firefighters from the Pukoo station arrived at Kamalo Wharf at 12:37 p.m. They learned that a man was last seen securing his 26 foot catamaran near the wharf. Sometime later, a witness saw the boat drifting downwind but did not see the operator onboard, so he called for help. A rescue watercraft from Kaunakakai found the vessel just downwind of the wharf with no one aboard, and a search was initiated for the missing operator.
At about 1 p.m., fire crews on rescue watercraft found the male operator unresponsive and not breathing about 300 yards offshore and 300 yards downwind of Kamalo Wharf. The man was brought to shore at the wharf, where emergency responders performed life-saving efforts.
The victim, a 62-year-old man from Kawela, Molokai was transported by ambulance to Molokai General Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Rescue watercraft from Kaunakakai and Hoolehua, along with Air 1 and Rescue 10 out of Kahului all responded in assisting Pukoo firefighters.
HONOLULU – The Coast Guard medically evacuated a 20-month-old boy who lost consciousness aboard a tour boat near Molokini Crater, Monday.
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