Cyclist Rescued Off Maunakea SlopesOctober 11, 2019, 11:14 AM HST (Updated October 11, 2019, 11:14 AM)
A military aircraft was used to rescue a cyclist off the slopes of Maunakea after several hours of exposure.
The 53-year-old man from Germany was found at an elevation of 12,000 feet and airlifted off the mountain by a Medivac Blackhawk stationed at Pōhakuloa Training Area. He was then taken to North Hawai‘i Community Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries.
Hawai‘i County Fire Battalion Chief Michael Grace said the cyclist left for his ride in Holualoa at about 5 a.m. on Oct. 9. On Thursday he started to send text messages to his friends that were brief and non-specific.
“They chose to activate 911 for help,” Grace said of the reporting parties.
The Fire Department initiated the rescue at about 12:17 p.m. about a lost hiker.
While traversing the mountain via the Hunter Access Road at approximately 8,000 feet, officials say, the cyclist took a trail off the main dirt road. The man became exposed to cold, rain, dense fog and strong winds. Fire officials say summit temperatures were in the mid 30s at around noon.
PTA assisted the fire department in its search and quickly found the cyclist. The fire department’s rescue chopper was on scene however, officials say the aircraft was not able to reach the patient due to its elevation limitations.
The cyclist is not an IRONMAN contestant, but is visiting with a group that is competing on Saturday.