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Saddle Information Update for June 11th, 2019

Man injured following a tumble atop Maunakea

Maunakea Observatory

The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) along with US Army Fire-Rescue from Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) responded to search and rescue incident on Maunakea below the Keck Observatory Monday night (June 10th).


The initial call came in at 7:26 pm Monday night and crews from the Kawailani, Pohakuloa Training Area (Company 50), and Waiakea (Rescue Company 2) responded to the scene located at the 12,500 foot elevation on Maunakea.


Upon the arrival of HFD and PTA Fire crews, a photographer, who was taking photos atop of summit of Maunakea near the Keck Observatory, had lost his footing and tumbled down the hill below the observatory. The photographer, described as a male in his 60's, had suffered a fractured femur and unable to hike back up to safety.


Once HFD and PTA Fire crews arrived at Keck Observatory, they began their descend down from the trailhead located 1-mile above the patient's location (which the trail they used was unmarked). They traversed uneven and rough terrain to arrive on scene at the patient's location. They immediately began their medical evaluation and packaging of patient to be extricated back to the trailhead.


Due to the elevation challenges and altitude sickness, HFD and PTA Fire personnel worked slowly bring the patient back up to the trailhead. During the extrication process, they hiked in increments of 10 feet and also rotated personnel as needed to ensure safety for not only the patient but all personnel involved in the rescue.


Once back atop at the trailhead, HFD Medics immediately took over patient care and transported the male patient to the Hilo Medical Center in serious condition.

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