9 Hikers Rescued from Flash Flood at Bamboo Forest

November 2, 2011, 8:15 PM HST · Updated November 3, 7:12 AM
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By Wendy Osher

Waterfall along the Hana Highway, file photo by Wendy Osher.

Nine hikers were rescued from the Bamboo Forest area of East Maui when a flash flood made stream waters impassable on Wednesday afternoon, November 2, 2011.

Crews were called during the 4 p.m. hour to assist six hikers who became stranded on one side of a stream.   As Engine-2 from the Paia Fire Station was responding, another call was received indicating three more hikers were stranded upstream above a third waterfall.

The rescue took place in the Mile Post 6.5 area of the Hana Highway on a trail referred to by some as the “Commando Trail”.

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While awaiting assistance, the hikers were advised to go to higher ground and look for a clearing, said Maui Fire Services Chief, Lee Mainaga.

Crews from Engine-2 arrived on scene at 4:30 p.m. and made contact with the first group of hikers.

The Maui Fire Department’s Air-1 helicopter and personnel from Rescue-10 out of Kahului met with the Paia engine company and established a landing zone in a large cow pasture nearby.

Air-1, along with Rescue personnel lifted all nine hikers safety out of the landing zone, with the last hiker successfully lifted out at 5:02 p.m.

No injuries were reported.

The National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Advisory for Maui at 4:04 p.m.

The agency noted that at 3:54 p.m., radar showed heavy rain falling at 1-3 inches along the leeward section of Haleakala from Ulupalakua to Kula.

The area of heavy rain also extended to the windward slopes and coast of Maui from Huelo to Nahiku.  Weather forecasters indicated that the area of rain was nearly stationary.

The advisory was lifted shortly before 7 p.m.

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