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12 hikers rescued on East Maui trails

A dozen visitors and residents were rescued Friday after being trapped by rising waters amid changing weather conditions at East Maui’s Bamboo Forest trail area.

The Maui Fire Department was called intially at 4:26 p.m. Friday by a group of six hikers who were trapped in the area. Engine 2, Rescue 10 and Air 1 responded, according to the department.

Bystanders at the trailhead told Engine 2 crew that a different group of two hikers also was missing. Another four hikers were found based on information from the initial group and from people in vehicles still parked at the area.

All hikers, blocked by high waters from returning to trails, were located via aerial search by Rescue 10 personnel aboard Air 1 and airlifted to safety by 6:32 p.m., the Fire Department reported. No injuries were reported.

“The Maui Fire Department would like to remind hikers to be aware of the possibility of changing weather conditions any time they go hiking, and to plan and equip themselves accordingly,” said MFD acting information officer Chris Stankis. “While it may not be raining in the area you are hiking, rains at higher elevations may cause water levels in streams to rise quickly.”

Stankis said that if water levels rise, “stay put and wait for safer conditions” or call 911.

“Do not attempt to cross swollen, flooded streams or swift-moving water,” he added.