Crews rescue hikers after a night’s stay in Iao Valley

A 51-year-old Texas man and his 11-year-old son were airlifted out of Iao Valley on Saturday morning after becoming lost on a hike and spending a wet night more than a mile into the valley, Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga said.

The hikers were uninjured but “very cold,” he said.

Around 1:30 p.m. Friday, the man’s wife dropped off her husband and son, and they hiked into the valley to search for a pond they had heard about, Mainaga said. She remained in the family’s car, parked at Iao’s visitor lot. The hikers had personal floatation devices, but no cellphone or flashlights.

When they had been gone nearly five hours, she reported them missing at 6:28 p.m., Mainaga said.

Wailuku firefighters and a Kahului rescue crew were dispatched to Iao Valley. The department’s Air One helicopter attempted to fly to the area, but it turned around because of rain and low light.

Firefighters hiked the trail, but the search was temporarily called off at 8:20 p.m. because of heavy rains and poor conditions that made it unsafe to continue, Mainaga said.

The ground search resumed at 6 a.m. Saturday, with the Air One helicopter crew joining at 6:36 a.m., he said. The hikers from Fort Worth were located by the air crew at 6:50 a.m., about 1.5 miles into the trail.

The boy was airlifted to Iao’s parking lot at 7:05 a.m., with his father following 10 minutes later, Mainaga said.

Maui police and personnel from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources assisted in the search, he said.