Injured hiker rescued from the closed White Road Trail in Kamuela, South Kohala Tuesday afternoon (April 27th).
Published by: HIRSC - Hawaii Island (Holualoa) Team
The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) along with the Hawaii Police Department (HPD) and Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) responded to a report of an injured hiker on the closed White Road Trail in Kamuela, South Kohala Tuesday afternoon (April 27th).
The initial call came in at 1:33 pm Tuesday afternoon and HFD Crews from the Waimea and Kailua (Rescue Company 7) Fire Stations along with Battalion 2, Chopper 2, Chopper 1, HPD Officers from the South Kohala Patrol, and DLNR - DOCARE Officers responded to the scene located approximately 2 miles in on the White Road Trail.
Upon the arrival of emergency crews, reports came into HFD Dispatch reporting a hiker (described as a male in his 30s) was found by a group of 7 people who were on the White Road trail approximately 2 miles in. The male hiker was reported to be exhausted, unable to hike back out, and was reported to be on the trail for an unknown amount of time. Others in the hiking group continued to the trailhead and awaited the arrival of emergency crews.
Once emergency crews arrived at the scene, HFD Ground Crews hiked in on the White Road Trail, while Chopper 2 conducted an aerial survey and later located the male hiker on the trail and guided HFD Ground Personnel to his location. Once with the hiker, HFD personnel conducted a quick medical assessment on the male hiker, determined he was able to hike back out on his own, and then escorted him back to HFD Medic staged at the trailhead, from there was later transported to the North Hawaii Community Hospital in serious condition.
DLNR - DOCARE Officers later arrived at the scene and according to field sources, others on the White Road Trail that arrived back to the trailhead were cited entering the closed trail system.
Officials remind the public that White Road Trail, which is located within the Kohala Forest Reserve - Restricted Watershed, is closed to the public due to damage sustained from a large earthquake back in late 2006. While the Upper Kohala/Hāmākua Ditch system was repaired, the trail itself was never safely repaired and has been kept closed due since 2006.
However, due to numerous recent posts on social media and listings in local guide books that continue to go viral, hikers still continue to trespass in the area despite the warnings posted.
According to HIRSC Records that have been taken since 2017, there has been an average of 2-3 rescues per year that have to be made at the closed White Road Hike in Kamuela. Several hikers needed to be airlifted out and transported to the hospital by HFD Medic after suffering serious injuries.
DLNR - DOCARE Officers are continuing step up enforcement at the closed White Road Trail.