East Hawaii News

Visitor Missing from HVNP Campsite Located

April 7, 2016, 12:19 PM HST
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HVNP File photo.

HVNP File photo.

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park officials say a man from Holland man who went missing while camping overnight at the Kūlanaokuaiki Campground within the park on Tuesday has been found.

The 63-year-old man, identified by HVNP as Gerrit Voortis, and his wife were camping at the campground off Hilina Pali Road on Tuesday afternoon.

Voortis left to go on a short hike alone but did not bring water, a phone, or a backpack with him. He failed to return later in the afternoon.

According to HVNP, park dispatchers were notified by another concerned camper when he didn’t come back.

Efforts by the Hawai’i County Fire Department helicopter and search and rescue team from the park were unable to locate Voortis by nightfall Tuesday. SAR continued to search for the man on the ground until 10 p.m.

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Wednesday morning at about 6:30, a small fire was spotted by a pilot flying the HVNP’s contracted helicopter. The pilot landed, and Voortis was located.

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He was treated for dehydration, but was in overall good condition.

The small fire built by Voortis for warmth was extinguished by park rangers.

Voortis was reunited with his wife at the park’s Visitor Emergency Operations Center.

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“It’s extremely important to be prepared when going on any hike, whether it’s a short walk or an extended trek into the backcountry,” said Chief Ranger John Broward. “Plan ahead, research the area, and always have plenty of water.”

A detailed checklist of safety tips is provided on the HVNP website.

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