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Maui Man Airlifted: Falls 20-Feet from Waterfall in Kailua

Posted November 28, 2016, 03:31 PM HST
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A 38-year-old Maui man was airlifted to the hospital after falling 20 feet into a pool at the base of a 60-foot waterfall over the weekend in Kailua.

The incident as reported at around 2:57 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, on the makai side of Hāna Highway (360), in East Maui.

Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said Pāʻia firefighters and a rescue crew aboard the department’s Air 1 helicopter had trouble locating the injured party. According to FSC Taomoto, the caller did not know the name of the trail they were on, and only knew they were near Mile 6 of the Hāna Highway, and on the makai side of the road near the ocean.

Department officials say poor cell phone reception hampered rescuers from communicating with the caller.  Adding to the problem, was that the victim was within a deep ravine and was not easily seen from the coast as Air 1 flew past them while searching.

At about 4:15 p.m., Air 1 located the male victim conscious and floating face-up in a freshwater pond about a half-mile makai of the highway, near the ocean. Air 1 lowered firefighters to the victim who was lying at the base of a 60 foot waterfall.

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Rescue crews airlifted the man to a pasture near the Commando Trailhead off of the Hāna Highway where he was treated by paramedics.  He was then transferred to an awaiting Medevac helicopter at 4:53 p.m. and airlifted to the Maui Memorial Medical Center in serious condition.

FSC Taomoto said the victim and a small group of friends had hiked into the area and were swimming in the freshwater ponds.

The man was climbing down the side of the waterfall when he slipped and fell the last 20 feet and landed on the rocks below, suffering serious injuries to his neck and back. One person stayed with the victim while the rest of the party hiked out to phone for help.

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