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Pair of Hikers Lost Overnight in Volcano Forest

Posted June 21, 2013, 01:47 PM HST
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The Pu`u Maka`ala Natural Area Reserve, where two hikers spent the night after becoming lost, is shown in green. Image from Pu`u Maka`ala NARS management plan.

A man and a woman spent Thursday night in thick forest above Volcano after becoming lost while hiking.

The man, 59, and woman, 58, told rescuers today that they started their hike in the Pu`u Maka`ala National Area Reserve at about 1 p.m. Thursday.

At some point they wandered off the trail and lost their way in the forest at about the 5,000-foot elevation.

With nightfall approaching, at 6:30 p.m. they sent a text message to a friend. However, the friend didn’t see the message for about four hours and didn’t call 911 until 10:34 p.m.

A Hawaii Fire Department rescue team started a ground search and cut a trial to the hiker’s last known GPS coordinate but was unable to locate the pair. The search was called off after several hours.

Arriving back at the scene at 5:30 a.m. today, the search team made cell phone contact with the pair. After a new GPS location was obtained, the department’s Chopper 1 located the hikers under the thick forest canopy and directed the ground team to their location to accompany them back to safety.

The Pu`u Maka`ala Natural Area Reserve located beyond Amaumau Road in Volcano ranges in elevation from 2,800 feet to 6,229 feet. Its 18,730 acres are made up of wet ohia and koa forest containing some of Hawaii’s rarest birds and plants.

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