Maui News

UPDATE: 16 Rescued at “Commando Trail” and “Bamboo Forest”

August 25, 2015, 4:42 PM HST
* Updated August 26, 5:15 AM
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Rescue in Kailua in the area often referred to as the "Commando Hike." 8/25/15. Photo credit: Jen Ferreira.

Rescue in Kailua in the area often referred to as the “Commando Hike.” 8/25/15. Photo credit: Jen Ferreira.

By Wendy Osher

(Update: 8:51 p.m. 8/25/15)

A total of 16 hikers were rescued from the Kailua area of east Maui on Tuesday afternoon after they became trapped by swollen stream waters.

Fire rescue crews and a helicopter were called to the scene in the Kailua area of East Maui at around 2:52 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015.

Fire officials say initial reports indicated that six people were stranded by flash flood waters at the place often referred to as the “Commando Trail.”

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While crews were en route they learned there was another group of hikers trapped by swollen stream waters on a trail in the area often referred to as the “Bamboo Forest,” about a quarter-mile west of the “Commando Trail” hike off of Hāna Highway, said Maui Fire Services Officer Edward Taomoto.

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According to department reports, Pāʻia firefighters arrived at the “Commando” trailhead at 3:22 p.m., and met with two hikers that said six other people were trapped on the other side of the stream.

Communicating by cell phone text messages, Taomoto said rescuers were informed that the six individuals were on high ground and safe. Crews advised the stranded hikers to take shelter-in-place while the department’s Air 1 helicopter searched for the group stranded at the “Bamboo Forest Trail.”

Mountain rescue. Graphics by Wendy Osher.

Mountain rescue. Graphics by Wendy Osher.

Department officials say a crew aboard the Air 1 located and airlifted a total of 10 people and a dog from above the 2nd pond on the “Bamboo Trail.”

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The group was taken to a pasture near the trailhead off of the Hāna Highway. The helicopter crew then proceeded to rescue the remaining six hikers from above the 2nd pond, beyond the end of the “Commando Trail,” said Taomoto.

Department reports indicate that all 16 hikers and the dog were airlifted to safety by 4:30 p.m.

FSO Taomoto said some of the hikers had minor scrapes but all declined medical attention.

Authorities say that of those rescued, 14 were visitors and two were Maui residents from Lahaina.

Taomoto said that when rescue crews arrived at the scene they said the skies were clear and the sun was shining; however, they did notice dark clouds higher up on Haleakalā that could not be seen while hiking the trails.

According to department reports, fire crews said stream waters were running “very high and fast.” FSO Taomoto said that by the time firefighters left, the area was being impacted by what was described as “heavy downpours.”

Firefighters estimated more than a dozen other people walked out of the area on their own.

There is currently a Flood Watch in place for the entire state through 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.  At the time, a Flood Advisory was posted for Maui until 4:30 p.m. for the north and east facing slopes of Haleakalā with rainfall rates of 1 to 3 inches per hour.

(Updated: 4:30 p.m. 8/25/15)

Maui firefighters are responding to a mountain rescue in the Kailua area of East Maui reported at around 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015.

Initial reports indicate that a total of 16 people were being assisted due to flash flooding in the area.

According to our sources, two groups of hikers – a group of 10, and another group of six – required assistance.  We are working to confirm the exact count with county authorities.

The initial call started out as a rescue in the area often referred to as the “Commando Trail.”  When firefighters were responding to that call, a second group of hikers was also reported to be stranded at the area often referred to as the “Bamboo Forest Trail.”

It is unclear if there are any injuries.

There is currently a Flood Watch in place for the entire state through 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.  A Flood Advisory was also posted for Maui until 4:30 p.m. for the north and east facing slopes of Haleakalā with rainfall rates of 1 to 3 inches per hour.

*Check back for further details, which will be posted as they become available.

(Updated: 3:53 p.m. 8/25/15)

BREAKING: An estimated 16 people are being rescued from the area often referred to as the “Commando Hike Trail” in the Kailua area of East Maui. Details will be posted at mauinow.com as they become available.

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