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Hawai‘i Fire Department Rescues Opihi Pickers from Cliff

December 2, 2018, 7:48 AM HST (Updated December 2, 2018, 7:48 AM)
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The Hawai‘i Fire Department responded to a report of two men in need of rescuing from a cliff overlooking the ocean along the Hāmākua Coast shortly after midnight on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018.

First responders arrived at the 28 mile marker on Highway 19, in the Waipunalei area of Laupahoehoe on the Big Island at 1 a.m. and began a high angle cliff rescue.

The two men had climbed down 100-foot, steep embankment and utilized a rope system to scale down another 100-foot vertical cliff to pick opihi.

The HFD rescue team utilized a 3:1 raising-and-lowering rope rescue system.

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One HFD rescuer was lowered to “pick off” one of the men, who was approximately 50 feet down the cliff face.

The second victim was raised from shoreline to safety, tended by a HFD rescueman.

Throughout the rescue, heavy rain contributed to the hazardous rescue.

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Both of the men were extracted safely and evaluated by HFD medic personnel.

Neither victim had injuries requiring transport to a medical facility.

No HFD personnel sustained injuries during the rescue.

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