Rescuers spent Tuesday evening assisting 37 hikers unable to cross Hanakapiai Stream due to a rapid rise in the water level, according to Kauai officials.
At about 5:45 p.m., dispatchers received a call of several hikers trapped in Hanakapiai Valley.
According to the caller, one man was asthmatic and did not have his medication with him.
At 6 p.m., the rescue helicopter flew into the valley and located 37 people stranded on the far side of the stream, unable to cross.
Rescuers made a quick assessment of those needing immediate transport.
Seven people were flown to Kee Beach, including the asthmatic male from Virginia, a pregnant woman and her husband from Idaho, a Texas woman, and a Utah couple hiking with their 10-week-old infant.
All seven were released at the scene by medics.
As the water level receded, rescuers monitored the remaining 30 hikers as they crossed the stream with the help of a rope line, and hiked back to the head of the trail on their own.
In light of this incident, the Kauai Fire Department says it would like to remind hikers of the following safety tips:
- Be sure to check the weather forecast for the day before hitting the trail. Sunny skies can be deceiving.
- Have more than enough food and water for a full day.
- Wear proper footwear.
- Make sure someone knows where you intend to hike, and when you expect to return.
- Ask questions of people that know the location, and learn the potential dangers and areas of caution.
- Bring first aid supplies.
- Understand your limitations (age, health, etc.) and if you require medication, bring it with you.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
"We don?t want to discourage people from enjoying Kauai?s natural beauty," says Kauai Fire Chief Robert Westerman. "But nature can be a dangerous place if you?re not prepared. So please, be prepared and stay safe!"