Flash flood sweeps teens down Kalihi stream

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: May 28 2013 05:43:00 PM HST

One heavy rainstorm turns a dip in a local pond into a struggle to survive. Four teenagers were swept into a swollen stream this morning in Kalihi, and that set off a frantic rescue effort.

HONOLULU -

The flash flood warning on Tuesday was for good reason.

Calls for help came from from a popular swimming pond known as "Ice Ponds."

Emergency crews staged at various points along Kalihi stream fearing the worst, and watching for an opportunity to assist.  All they knew was that a group of teens was swept away in the currents.

Fire personnel recounted efforts to check the stream.

"We have gone all the way down to the abandoned Burmeister house. No victims found or seen at this time," said one firefighter.

"Four people were swept away from where they were crossing the stream,  down stream, but they managed to free themselves," said Fire Capt. Terry Seelig.

The Pearl City teens looked relieved, but a bit dazed after their ordeal in a remote area of the valley.

"We were working with Emergency Medical Services and police to try to sort out where these people were, how many people were there and were they all accounted for.  Very chaotic and confusing," Seelig said.

Rescue crews said the rain was concentrated on the Koolaus and that made for an unpredictable situation for what was a summer excursion for a group of friends.

PHOTOS: 4 swept away in Kalihi stream

Click here to see photos from the scene.

Conditions can change in a moment’s notice as these teens found out. They told firefighters they were swept several hundred yards downstream.

"They all described it was a surge of water that came down and caused the stream to overflow and it became a raging torrent," Seelig said.

Three teenage girls and one boy were treated by emergency medical personnel and take to the Queen's Medical Center to be checked out.

Their injuries were described as minor, but it was a scary experience for all those involved

One girl told KITV she was rescued by her boyfriend.  Others in the group said at one point the couple was stuck on a log in the middle of the stream.

"It was so confusing, and so spread out and difficult to gather information but Hopefuly, they all learned a  valuable lesson that will help everyone realize you have to be careful when you are hiking anytime but especially when it’s raining," said Seelig.

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