Kamuela Information Update # 2 for May 20th, 2020
Injured hiker rescued off of the White Road Trail in Kamuela Wednesday afternoon (May 20th).
Published by: HIRSC - Hawaii Island (Holualoa and Kamuela) Team
The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) along with the Hawaii Police Department (HPD) and Department of Land and Natural Resource (DLNR) responded to the report of an injured hiker on the White Road Trail/Hike in Kamuela Wednesday afternoon (May 20th).
The initial call came in at 2:58 pm Wednesday afternoon and HFD crews from the Waimea and Kailua (Rescue Company 7) Fire Stations along with Battalion 2, Chopper 1, HPD officers South Kohala responded to the scene located approximately 1 mile in on the White Road Trail near the bridge crossing in Kamuela.
Upon the arrival of emergency crews, a 911 call came in from a group of hikers (8 people) were hiking on the White Road Trail and one of the hikers in their group (described as female in her 20’s) has suffered an ankle fracture on the trail and was unable to continue on to the trailhead. 2 parties from the group had continued on to get help while the rest of the group awaited the scene for emergency crews.
Once emergency crews arrived at the scene, HFD personnel hiked in on the White Road Trail to rendezvous with the injured hiker near the bridge crossing. Due to the bad weather conditions in the area, Chopper 1 was not able to make extrication efforts by air and had to return to quarters. HFD ground personnel continued to hike in and rendezvous with the injured hiker and her group a short time later. They began a quick medical assessment and package the injured hiker for extrication by ground.
Due to the location of the injured hiker and also trail conditions, multiple HFD personnel had to assist with safe extrication and took some time to get the patient to the staging area at the end of White Road to an awaiting HFD Medic.
HFD Medic personnel continued with medical assessment and treatment. Shortly thereafter, HFD Medic transported the female hiker to the North Hawaii Community Hospital in serious condition for further medical treatment.
DOCARE officers were present and it’s unknown at this time if all individuals in the hiking group were cited trespassing in the closed area and also for prohibited acts during the Act with Care/Safer at Home order in effect related to COVID-19.
DLNR reminds the public that White Road Trail is closed to the public and unsafe for hiking.
Details about White Road Trail history:
White Road Hiking Trail was closed back in late 2006 due to a major 6.9 earthquake that caused damage to the trail and the Upper Hamakua/Kohala Water Ditch system located along the trail.
Repairs were made to the system and surrounding trails mainly for maintenance purposes, however, due to access disputes and also safety concerns, the trail was never safely reopened. White Road Hiking Trail is highlighted in many guidebooks, social media photos, and videos, however, due to the recent uprise in popularity, so has trespassing into the area has increased as well.
While popularity rises on social media in many public posts, it does not disclose the true dangers and also hazards involved with this trail.
Since the rise on social media, DLNR DOCARE officers have stepped up enforcement and on many occasions have cited numerous individuals for trespassing and a handful of people had to be rescued by HFD personnel since the trail was closed back in 2006.
There had been efforts/plans in the past to restore access to the trail, however, many roadblocks had prevented any plans from becoming fruition.
According to HIRSC Team statistics/notes, there is an average of 1-2 rescues to happen on the White Road Trail on a yearly basis.