Body of Kauai hiker found in Hanakapiai Stream

Published On: Feb 22 2013 11:15:08 PM HST

Tired, shaken-up, wet and muddy.
The last of 54 hikers stranded on Kauai made their way home on Thursday knowing one of them did not make it out alive.

HANAKAPIAI, Hawaii -

The Kauai Fire Department, with the assistance of a fire department helicopter and lifeguards from the Ocean Safety Bureau, recovered the body of a female hiker Friday morning who was swept away while attempting to cross Hanakapiai Stream the day before.

The woman, believed to be in her forties, has not yet been identified.

Rescuers located the unresponsive body further downstream at around 8:30 a.m. Friday and airlifted her out of the valley.

Rescue crews was notified of the incident at about 4 p.m. Thursday while en route to rescue 55 hikers who were stranded on the far side of the stream, unable to cross due to a rise in the water level.  The female hiker apparently tried to cross on her own before help arrived when she was swept away.

A fire department chopper and the U.S. Coast Guard conducted an aerial search of the area while lifeguards on Jet Ski searched the shoreline throughout the evening, but nightfall forced rescuers to suspend their efforts for the night.

Meanwhile, rescuers attempted to assist the stranded hikers in the valley, but the stream’s high water level coupled with strong winds made it difficult for rescuers to assist them safely across, forcing everyone, including 2 rescue specialists, to stay in the valley overnight.

With the assistance of the two firefighters on scene, all 55 hikers were able to cross the stream safely this morning as the water receded. Ten hikers were flown out of the area while the rest of the group opted to hike out on their own.

None of the hikers required medical assistance.

Life’s Bridges, a volunteer-based grief counseling service, is assisting the family of the female hiker.

This is the seventh drowning reported on Kauai this year.

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