Seattle Couple Unharmed After Vehicle Takes 40 Foot Plunge
Crews from the Maui Fire Department conducted a high-angle rescue on Friday afternoon in Kahakuloa after a vehicle went off the roadway and down a 40 foot cliff. Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said the Seattle couple within was unharmed in the incident.
At 2:58 p.m. on Friday, May 26, 2017, firefighters responded to a vehicle reported to have gone over the cliff on the Wailuku side of Makamakaole Gulch in Kahakuloa.
At 3:17 p.m. Wailuku firefighters arrived at mile marker 8 of Kahekili Highway and learned that a rental car had stopped on a narrow portion of the highway and was backing up to make room for a school bus.
The vehicle left the roadway and went over the side, falling about 40 feet and coming to rest on its side.
A tree stopped the vehicle from tumbling another 20 feet to the bottom of the ravine.
Two occupants, a 62-year-old man and a 57-year-old woman from Seattle, Washington were still in the vehicle but were uninjured.
They could not get out of the vehicle due to the steep incline and the vehicle being on its side.
Children who live in the area led firefighters down a trail to the bottom of the gulch, but they were not able to safely reach the vehicle from below.
Crews were able to make voice contact with the couple and reassured them that help was on the way.
Firefighters rigged up a rope system and rappelled down a 20 foot vertical section and another 20 feet of near vertical incline to reach the vehicle.
Rescue personnel managed to get the couple out and hoisted them back up to the roadway at 4:55 p.m.
The individuals were checked out by paramedics but were otherwise unharmed.
A rescue company and battalion chief from the Kahului station responded to the incident along with Wailuku firefighters.