Maui News

Lost Biker Spends Night in Molokaʻi Mountains

July 22, 2016, 2:13 AM HST
* Updated July 22, 2:16 AM
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Mountain Rescue. Graphic: Wendy Osher / Maui Now.

Mountain Rescue. Graphic: Wendy Osher / Maui Now.

A 50-year-old man from Mountain View, California, is safe after spending Wednesday night in the mountainous terrain of Waikolu Valley on Molokaʻi.

Fire officials say the man was reported overdue by a rental bike company at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, when he failed to show up at a designated meeting point.

The man had rented a bicycle from the company 12 hours earlier at 6 a.m. on Wednesday and had indicated that he planned to go for a day trip biking on the Makakupaʻia Trail, which overlooks the Waikolu Valley.

Molokaʻi firefighters and police began searching for the overdue bicyclist at 7:19 p.m. on Wednesday and found the man’s bike chained to a tree where Forest Reserve Road connects with the Makakupaʻia Trail.

Crews searched along the trail to the Nature Conservancy’s “Boardwalk,” but suspended the search at midnight after finding no other clues.

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The search resumed at 6 a.m. Thursday with police, firefighters from Kaunakakai, a rescue crew from Kahului, and Air 1 searching forested areas near the 3,500 foot elevation at the top of the mountain. Although Air 1 was dispatched, authorities say it could not be used because the area was “socked-in” by clouds.

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A note for the man was left on the bike, saying if he returned, to remain at the spot because rescuers would check back later. When police got back to the bike at 8 a.m., the man was there waiting for them.

The California visitor stated that after he got lost yesterday afternoon, he decided to bed down on the trail for the night, rather than risk walking in the dark. Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said the man became lost after he left the trail on foot and somehow ended up, down in the Waikolu Valley. At day break he found his way back to where he left the bicycle.

Fire officials say the man was in good condition despite going overnight without food, water or warm clothing in the high mountains.

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Fire crews gave him a jacket and a ride down the mountain, where they made it out to the trailhead on Kamehameha V Highway at 9:30 a.m. No medical attention was needed.

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