Search crews find missing Kauai hiker - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kauai hiker missing for days found alive

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Pamela Wilcox Dohrman Pamela Wilcox Dohrman
KOKEE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

[Update 6:57 p.m.]

After missing for two nights in the forests of Kauai, Pamela Wilcox-Dohrman is safe and back with her family.

The 72-year-old first went missing at Kokee State Park Saturday afternoon and was found by a group of teenagers 11:30 Monday morning.

For her husband, the past two nights felt like a lifetime.

"You're hoping to keep the bad thoughts out of your mind and be positive," Mal Dohrman said.  "Put it this way. I couldn't sleep the first night and maybe I got two hours last night."

About 80 volunteers joined county and state agencies to form nine different search parties.

After canvassing much of the dense Kokee terrain, a group of maile pickers found the hiker just off the Kaluapuhi trail.

"When I first seen her, she was like, 'Come here, just let me grab your hands'," said Kekoa Augustine, who was with a group of three others. "I gave her my hands, she squeezed it and came and hugged me. She was so stoked, there was tears in her eyes."

Officials say the ordeal started after the woman apparently took a wrong turn by an area known as 'Berry Flats', about one to two miles away from her cabin.

"It  was amazing and we kind of covered that area previously and maybe not hearing or she wasn't calling out at that time," said Kauai Fire Department deputy chief John Blalock. "She was getting weaker too, she was getting fainter too. There was a lot of things that came together to make it happen."

Wilcox-Dohrman had little water and food. She came out of the forest a little dehydrated, but otherwise, in good condition.

As a precaution, she was taken to Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital, but is expected to be released soon.

[Update 5:24 p.m.]

Officials say that missing hiker Pamela Wilcox Dohrman of Hanalei was located less than a mile from the trailhead, about a fourth of a mile off of the Kaluapuhi Trail in a densely vegetated area at the bottom of a 100 ft. cliff.

The four local men who found her, who were part of one of the search teams, took turns carrying Dohrman on their backs to bring her back up to the trail where they were met by rescuers, and later transported to Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital.

According to a preliminary report, Dohrman took off on her normal hike through the Berry Flat Trail at around 2:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon, but after taking a side trail she became lost in an area of thick ferns.

Dohrman stayed in that spot from Saturday night to keep from getting further disoriented or injured. She was wearing a light hooded jacket and had a cell phone, but had no cell reception. She also had a backpack of snacks and some water that she rationed over the past two days.

"We are all so relieved that Pam has been found safe and healthy," Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr. said of the effort. "Many prayers were answered today and our entire community is rejoicing at the news of her return to her family and friends. Mahalo to the dozens and dozens of rescue workers and volunteers who kept the faith and searched tirelessly for the past two days. We are so blessed as a community to have this sense of 'ohana which connects us all when we need it most. Mahalo Ke Akua!"

[Update 12:40 p.m.]

Missing hiker Pamela Wilcox Dohrman of Hanalei was located Monday morning off the Kaluapuhi Trail in Kokee.

Rescuers report that aside from exhibiting signs of dehydration, the 72-year-old is in good condition. Rescuers are now preparing to walk her out of the trail where she will be treated by on-scene medics.

Dohrman was reported missing late Saturday night after taking a walk from her Kokee cabin at roughly 2:30 p.m. that afternoon and failing to return.

Rescue personnel, including firefighters from the Kaua'i Fire Department, police officers, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources personnel, and volunteers with Kaua'i Search and Rescue canine team, had been searching for the missing hiker since Saturday night. Up to 60 volunteers from the community, including Dohrman's family members, also assisted in the search effort.

Due to inclement weather, the county's Air 1 helicopter could not assist in today's search effort. Instead, rescuers and volunteers split up into groups and covered the trails on foot. One of the search teams located Dohrman off the Kaluapuhi Trail at around 11:30 a.m.

[Update 11:55 a.m.]

Hawaii News Now has learned that a missing hiker on Kauai has been found alive. 72-year-old Pamela Wilcox Dohrman of Hanalei was last seen at her Kokee cabin at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday. 

Crews from the Kauai Fire Department are walking her out from a trail in Kokee State Park. She has requested water from the rescue crews.

We will have the latest on this breaking story on HawaiiNewsNow.com.

Original story posted below: 

Search crews were unsuccessful in finding a Kauai woman who disappeared after going for a walk Saturday.

Kauai authorities identified the missing woman as 72-year-old Pamela Wilcox Dohrman of Hanalei. She was at a family gathering when she left her Kokee cabin at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday to take a walk. Her son reported her missing at 9:44 p.m. after she failed to return.

Dohrman is a member of Kauai's prominent Wilcox family.

Crews from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Kauai Fire Department, the Kauai Police Department, and Kauai Search and Rescue canine team began a search for the woman and continued throughout the night. Family members also joined in the search.

The ground search continued Sunday morning. The Kauai Fire Department helicopter was also used, but the air search proved to be ineffective. "They did send the helicopter up earlier this morning to assist in the search, but the area is so densely wooded that it didn't reveal much, so the ground effort is really where they're focusing right now," said Kauai County spokeswoman Beth Tokioka.

Dohrman is a lifelong Kauai resident. A friend said she was an accomplished hiker who was familiar with the trails in the Kokee area.

"Apparently she's in good physical condition, so no major medical concerns, although obviously very concerned about her being 72 and being out on her own for such a long period of time," said Tokioka.

Crews were unable to find any trace of Dohrman Sunday. The search is scheduled to resume Monday morning. 

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