Seven Airlifted from ʻĪao During Swift Water Rescue

September 4, 2018, 3:42 PM HST · Updated September 4, 4:46 PM
Wendy Osher · 7 Comments

Seven individuals were airlifted from ʻĪao Valley after becoming stranded on a high spot in the middle of the river by quickly rising waters.

The incident was reported at around 4:15 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 3, 2018.

The group consisted of two adults and three children–ages 3, 5 and 11–with local addresses; and two adult visitors.


Wailuku firefighters located the group and Rescue 10 personnel aboard the Department’s Air 1 helicopter were called to extract all seven individuals to a landing zone located in the parking lot of ʻĪao Valley State Park.

Maui Fire Services Chief Rylan Yatsushiro said all were in good condition and refused medical attention.


    The Maui Fire Department reminds the public to take precautions when flash flood conditions occur.


    The department offers the following advice to hikers:

    • Wear brightly colored clothes so rescue crews can more easily spot you.
    • Take adequate amount of water and snacks.
    • Start hikes early and know when the sun sets (darkness). Leave adequate time to get back.
    • Let someone else know where you are hiking and when you should return.
    • Make sure cell phones are fully charged and take an extra battery.
    • Be aware remote areas will not have cell phone coverage.
    • Never dive or jump into ponds due to submerged rocks/ledges.
    • Never cross or swim in streams/ponds when dark clouds are on the mountains.
    • Heed all warning signs and do not trespass on private property.
    • Stay on trails and pack out any rubbish. Leave only footprints. Never hike alone.
    • Be prepared for sudden changes in weather. Bring a poncho, jacket. sunscreen, and mosquito repellent.
    • Call the National Weather Service at 808-944-3756, Ext 2. Heed all advisories, watches, and warnings.
    • Call the Maui County Automated Information Line at (808) 986-1200, Ext 1.
    • Check out the National Weather Service forecast advisories.

    Also Be Aware:

    • Flash flooding may still occur even when sunny due to rain clouds higher up in the mountains.
    • Newer editions of guidebooks have many safety messages. Read and abide by them.
    • River rocks can be very slippery. Stay away from cliff edges. Be aware of falling rocks.
    • Better to stay put than risk hiking in darkness.
    • Hawaiʻi’s streams may be contaminated with leptospirosis.

    *Below: Maui County Flash Flood Video.

    ʻĪao Valley swift water rescue. 9.3.18. Video: @sophia.nanea

    ʻĪao Valley swift water rescue. 9.3.18. Video: @sophia.nanea

    ʻĪao Valley swift water rescue. 9.3.18. Video: @sophia.nanea

    ʻĪao Valley swift water rescue. 9.3.18. Video: @sophia.nanea

    ʻĪao Valley swift water rescue. 9.3.18. Video: @sophia.nanea

    Wendy Osher
    Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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