OHE May 20, 1999 (Maakua Rescue)

Date: Thu, 20 May 1999 01:11:23 -1000
From: Wing C Ng (wing@lava.net>
Subject: Ma`akua Gulch

In today (5-19-99) Star-Bulletin, several hikers were caught "trespassing" into Ma`akua Gulch. The reason they were caught was that one of them was injured, the others tried to carry him out but couldn't, and were forced to call for rescue.

BTW today on Diamond Head, one man sprained his ankle and 2-3 fire dept. vehicles were there, and he was carried down the trail in a stretcher.

This is going too far. The landslide might occur only once in 5000 years. These narrow valleys have been around for millions of years. It is not reasonable to close these valleys just because there is a _possibility_ of landslides.

It's good that Koloa, Kaipapau, etc. were not as well known, and they have not yet "closed" them.

They cited "the danger the rescuers had to incur to rescue" these idiots. True, but fighting fire is _per se_ dangerous, and that is their job. They can _refuse_ to rescue these people. It is too far to penalize these people: there is talk of $500 fine and 1 month prison.


Reply from: Greg Kingsley (gkingsle@hawaii.edu>

This happened on Monday night/Tuesday morning as the hikers carrying their hurt comrade gave up about halfway out.

According to what I've heard, the ridges along the windward coast have been subject to special dry conditions in the last few months. This escalated the cause for the rocks to shear. The possibility of landslides at this point is much higher than normal.

I believe landslides (on a regular basis on a particular ridge) happen more than just once in 5000 years. Remember all those signs of small landslides in Moanalua Valley? Some of those signs were pretty fresh as a lot looked like they had occured in the last year or two. Also remember that it only takes that small rock to kill you, let alone a giant rockslide.

If you don't believe the danger, you should have seen the KHNL footage of Maakua Gulch. The camera crew was allowed to follow geologists/officials into the gulch. What they photographed was a rather huge mass of splintered trees, boulders, rocks, and clay just sitting there along the trail. They estimated that this rockslide happened in the few days following the incident at Sacred Falls.

Yeah, I agree - it's their right to refuse to rescue. Just like how the Coast Guard does not have to rescue someone who ignores high-craft advisories. I also think they should hand the rescue bill to anyone who calls HFD who isn't seriously hurt, ignores warnings/closures, takes unnecessary risks, ...or isn't really lost

Reply from: peter caldwell (pekelo@lava.net>


Although it is an over reaction to close these places, for the time being that's the way it is. There are plenty of other places to go. No get huhu.

As I have said here before, it is not Fire Rescue's "job" to bail out dummies who really do put those guys at risk unnecessarily. Problem would be partially solved as it has in other areas if the mayor would go along with the idea of a sliding scale to pay for your rescue. That means if you go off on some harebrained hike without adequate preparation or equipment and get hurt, you pay bigtime. It's all about taking responsibility for your actions which unfortunately doesn't happen as much as it should these days!

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