Female hiker, 23, dies after falling off trail in Ka'a'awa

Medical examiner: Tarpey died from multiple internal injuries

Published  5:36 PM HST Jun 23, 2013
KA`A`AWA, Hawaii -

A hiker who fell off the ridge in Ka'a'awa on Saturday has died.

A friend hiking behind her tells KITV4 it happened all too quickly. Aaron McClendon said Elizabeth Tarpey, 23, arranged the weekend hike on the Pu'u Manamana hiking trail.

The three friends had already been hiking for three hours when they started going down the back side of the trail, down the Kahekili Manamana loop near Crouching Lion.

A photo was taken during their last snack break, minutes before the unimaginable happened. McClendon said Tarpey stepped on a patch of loose soil, slipped and fell 300 feet.
 
"The whole thing happened in slow motion. I remember seeing her go over, and seeing her face while she was going down the side," said McClendon.

As she started to fall, she screamed, McClendon was behind her and tried to save her.

"One of her legs went over and I was right behind her, and I reached out to grab her, but I was too far back, and then her entire body went over, and I saw her fall about 100 feet and she disappeared," said McClendon.

"We tried to get down to get to where we could see her. There was a lot of dense foliage on the bottom she had fallen in between the trees," added McClendon.

He said they had completed more difficult hikes before. The Honolulu Fire Department was there within minutes. They made more than five attempts before they were able to get to Tarpey.

She was transported to the trauma center in serious condition where she later died.

The Honolulu medical examiner says Tarpey died from multiple internal injuries due to the accidental fall on the hike.

McClendon said Tarpey was looking forward to visiting her family next week. Tarpey moved here a year and a half ago. Her family plans to hold a memorial service in Hawaii.

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