Hiker Falls, Dies On Waimanalo Trail

Published On: Mar 19 2012 07:05:13 AM HST   Updated On: Mar 19 2012 08:58:55 PM HST

A man described as an experienced hiker fall 150 feet to this death Sunday while on an extremely narrow trail in Waimanalo.

The trail is known as "Bear Claw" between Waimanalo District Park and the Kuliouou Forest Reserve.

Rescue crews responded to a call for hikers in distress at around 12:30 p.m. Sunday, according to fire officials.

The Exploration: Hawaii website identified the man who organized Sunday's hike and fell to his death as Leslie Charles Merrell.

Merrell was described as an avid hiker. The website said Merrell often organized extreme hikes.

The group of 12 was planning to cross the Bear Claw ridge and come down the Kuliouou trail, according to fire officials.

"The man fell because he grabbed a boulder, which he thought was solid, " said Capt. James Todd of the Honolulu Fire Department. "And then it dislodged and he went down with the boulder. And it went over the edge and that's how he fell 150 feet."

The Honolulu Fire Department helicopter airlifted Merrell's body off the trail at around 2 p.m.

Fire crews also rescued four of the 12 hikers in the group.


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