Falling Rock Kills Indiana Visitor at Maui Waterfall
Fire crews and park rangers on Sunday morning recovered the body of a 34-year-old Fort Wayne, Indiana man who was fatally injured by a falling rock near the Waimoku Falls in the Kīpahulu District of Haleakalā National Park in East Maui.
Emergency dispatchers received the call at 6:21 p.m. Saturday, May 5, 2018, from a man who reported that his friend was struck in the head by a large rock while near the base of a waterfall at ʻOheʻo Gulch.
Two women who were also part of the group of four hikers remained with the victim.
At 6:50 p.m., Hāna firefighters arrived at the park. Along with the victim’s friend who made the call for help, firefighters drove up a service road then began the hike towards the victim near the top of the Pīpīwai Trail.
According to department reports, on the way up firefighters encountered the two women hiking down the trail. The women said their friend had suffered trauma to the head, and that he was not breathing and did not have a pulse despite their CPR efforts. They also indicated that rocks had continued to fall after the initial rock injured their friend.
Responders determined it was unsafe to retrieve the victim at night with the report of rocks still falling and decided to return at daybreak Sunday. Crews escorted the two women and man back to the park visitor center and left the scene at 9:45 p.m. Saturday.
Firefighters and Haleakalā National Park Rangers located the victim at around 8:30 a.m. Sunday and found the man deceased, with massive head trauma at the bottom of a 200 foot waterfall. Crews packaged the victim into a litter basket and airlifted the man via the fire department’s Air-1 helicopter to a landing zone near the park’s visitor center on Hāna Highway.
Maui Fire Service Chief Edward Taomoto said the victim from Fort Wayne, Indiana, had hiked to the waterfall Saturday with a 30-year-old female companion, also from Indiana and a 28-year-old woman and 30-year-old man, both Wailuku residents.
The friends were sitting near the waterfall when the victim was struck by the falling rock.
Firefighters and police officers in Hāna, and a rescue crew from Kahului assisted Haleakalā National Park Rangers in the incident.