Maui News

9 Hikers Cited for Trespassing on 22nd Anniversary of Motherʻs Day Tragedy at Sacred Falls

May 9, 2021, 5:40 PM HST
* Updated May 10, 7:16 AM
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  • Waterfall at Sacred Falls State Park, where nine people died during a rockfall on Motherʻs Day 1999. Photo Credit: DLNR
  • Department of Land and Natural Resources officers cited nine hikers for trespassing at Sacred Falls State Park. Photo Credit: DLNR

On Sunday, the 22nd anniversary of a Motherʻs Day tragedy at Sacred Falls State Park on Oahʻu, officers from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) cited nine hikers for trespassing.

On Mother’s Day 1999, eight people were killed and nearly three dozen were hurt when they were caught off guard when rocks tumbled down the waterfall’s steep cliffs. Such rockfalls are impossible to predict not only at Sacred Falls, but at many of Hawai‘i’s waterfalls. 

Ten days ago two men were hurt, including one who was taken to the hospital in critical condition, when boulders unexpectedly landed in the pool below Lulumahu Falls in the restricted Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve.

“Though Sacred Falls has signs everywhere, including numerous ones with a QR code connecting to a video, people still come, putting themselves at risk as well as the lives of emergency responders,” said Jason Redulla, chief of DLNRʻs Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE). “Sacred Falls State Park was closed for good reason after the 1999 tragedy. There is simply no way, for anyone, to accurately predict when rocks and boulders will fall. You are gambling with your life.”

While most reputable social media sites, at the urging of DLNR, have removed mentions of and directions to Sacred Falls in recent years, typically citations result when DOCARE officers patrol the site.

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Last year on the tragedyʻs anniversary, an officer who responded to the 1999 accident said getting a ticket and a court date is better than getting hurt or killed. He added numerous mothers lost their children in 1999 and some of the victims could have been raising their own families now. 

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The names of the nine people cited today will be released when available. 

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