HAUULA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Four overdue hikers who spent the night near Sacred Falls State Park in Windward Oahu were found Sunday, and were not cited for being in the park.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources identified the four hikers as local residents who were experienced and equipped with hiking gear. A parent of one of the hikers called for help after they failed to return last night as planned.
The Honolulu Fire Department located the group through a cell phone. The four walked out safely.
Investigators from DLNR's Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement determined that the hikers had gone out on the Castle Trail in Punaluu on Saturday morning. After bush whacking their way toward a ridge line they found themselves in a gully and spent the night there, the DLNR said.
The hikers told investigators that they saw a helicopter fly overhead Sunday morning and realized that rescuers were looking for them, and took the safest and most direct way out. Investigators said the hikers came out through the entrance to Sacred Falls State Park, but had not been on the Sacred Falls Trail, and therefore were not cited for entering the closed park.
"It is fortunate that these hikers were well prepared and had left a hike plan with someone reliable who was able to contact rescue responders that could ensure they could safely come out of the mountains," said DLNR Chair William Aila. "In this case the hikers used the lower areas of the park for a safe and expeditious exit after a night in the mountains."
Sacred Falls State Park has been closed since a rockslide killed eight people in 1999.