Emergency crews on Molokai helped two people who were injured after falling off their mules while descending the Kalaupapa Trail Thursday morning.
At 10:27 a.m., firefighters began hiking down from the top trailhead to switchback 15 of 26 switchbacks. The area where the injured male and female riders were was about half-way down the 3.2 mile cliff-side trail.
At the same time, three park rangers were making their way up from the bottom and eventually reached the injured riders first. They treated a 54-year-old man visiting from Novato, California for head injuries. He was knocked unconscious by the fall. A 36-year-old female employee of the Molokai Mule Tour was also treated for head and torso injuries.
After reaching the scene, firefighters secured the man into a stretcher basket and prepped him to be airlifted topside by the fire department’s Air-1 helicopter.
After transferring the man to paramedics on Kalae Highway, they returned and airlifted the woman to the landing zone near the highway.
The man was taken to the Molokai Airport, then transferred to a helicopter medevac that flew him to Maui Memorial Medical Center in serious condition. The woman, a Maunaloa, Molokai resident, was transported to Molokai General Hospital in serious condition.
The accident happened after the mule that the California visitor was riding on ran into the mule in front of it, causing the female employee to fall off.