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.