Visitor Stranded by High Surf Rescued in Kailua
A woman, stranded by high surf conditions was rescued by firefighters on Saturday afternoon.
The incident was reported at around 4:07 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14, in the Kailua area of East Maui.
Fire officials say Haʻikū firefighters arrived at the trailhead off of Hāna Highway at around 4:38 p.m., and began the one hour hike down to the coastline where emergency dispatchers located the caller via their cell phone’s GPS feature.
Maui Fire Services Officer Edward Taomoto said a rescue crew aboard the fire department’s Air 1 helicopter spotted the woman sitting on the rocks and airlifted her to the rest of her group on the other side of the bay at around 5 p.m.
Fire officials say the 25-year-old woman was hiking with three other individuals who went swimming in the area. According to department reports, the woman scrambled up the wrong side of the bay after becoming disoriented while swimming through foot-thick sea foam, churned up by the high surf.
Fire officials say high surf pounding the shoreline prevented her from walking around the bay and back to the trail that returns to Hāna Highway.
The Pāʻia fire crew escorted the group safely back to Hāna Highway just after dark, at around 6:15 p.m.
Authorities say the woman was uninjured in the incident. She is visiting the island and is staying with a friend in Lahaina. She declined to give her hometown.