62 People airlifted from Kalalau on Christmas Eve

The County of Kaua’i released the following statement:

–More than 60 people airlifted from Kalalau Valley–

HANAKĀPĪ’AI – The Kaua‘i Fire Department has airlifted over 60 people from the Kalalau Valley today after multiple streams became impassable.
One male hiker suffered a non-life threatening injury and was flown to Princeville Airport, where awaiting medics transported him to Wilcox Hospital.
Rescuers were notified Monday afternoon of roughly 10 hikers who were stranded, after rising waters made the Hanakāpī‘ai Stream impassable. However, those hikers were equipped with provisions and did not need medical assistance. The group stayed in the valley overnight and firefighters confirmed that they were able to cross the stream safely Tuesday morning without assistance.

The fire department was then notified Wednesday morning that at least a few more hikers were stranded today, and may have been in the valley for several days with dwindling supplies. Rescue 3 aboard Air 1 flew into the area this morning and began airlifting people out from the valley. The total number of stranded hikers grew to 62 by the end of the day.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) posted park closure signs at the Kalalau trailhead on Monday morning due to the hazardous weather conditions. A DLNR attendant was posted at the trailhead to warn hikers of the park closure and potential hazards, but, according to DLNR, several hikers ignored the warning and continued on.

The state park remains closed today and will reopen as conditions improve.

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  1. Thank you to the firemen that rescued everyone.
    Merry Christmas to all and peace to everyone.
    We were planning a hike today for Christmas but appreciated the site before heading out.
    Thank you

  2. Lucky not to be on the Kalalau Trail over Christmas.
    This story even made the news in Canada.
    Having visited the exact spots just a couple weeks ago, it is amazing to see how these small rivers can turn deadly when it rains hard.
    Why does the State of Hawaii not put suspension bridges or cable cars crossings at these points? Would also cut down on the deaths where people get swept down the river into the ocean.

    Should send Hawaii Parks to NZ or here in BC to see how it is done.

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