Fire crews rescue hiker from 3,200-foot elevation

The Fire Department’s Air One helicopter lifts a firefighter and a tired hiker from a ridge above Wailuku Heights to a park in the subdivision Tuesday afternoon. Maui Fire Department photo

The Maui News

A hiker without water and suffering from cramps and heat exhaustion was airlifted to safety off a ridge at about the 3,200-foot elevation above Wailuku Heights on Tuesday afternoon, fire officials said.

At about noon, a 60-year-old Wailuku man had walked from his home on Main Street to hike to the cross above Wailuku, said Fire Services Chief Ed Taomoto. Seven hours later and on a ridge above and past the cross, he called for help in distress.

The Fire Department’s Air One chopper, which had just left the scene of a rescue in Hana, flew to the Wailuku Heights area to search for the hiker, Taomoto said. The man was located by the chopper at 1:30 p.m., past the cross at the 3,200-foot elevation.

The man told firefighters, who were in contact with him by cellphone, that he could see the firetrucks with their lights staging at the corner of Alu Road and Kuikahi Drive, Taomoto said. The chopper landed on the road, and a firefighter clipped his harness to the belly of the chopper, which flew him to the hiker.

The hiker was attached by ropes and harness to the firefighter, and they were both airlifted to the park in Wailuku Heights, arriving at about 1:50 p.m., Taomoto said.