Hiker survives 170-foot fall from Kaaawa trail

Hiker survives 170-foot fall from Kaaawa trail

KAAAWA,OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Schofield Barracks soldier is recovering after he fell from a cliff Sunday while exploring one of Oahu's most dangerous hikes.

Fire officials responded to the Puu Manamana Trail in Kaaawa shortly before 1:30 p.m. after receiving reports of an injured hiker.

Viewer video shows Air One arriving on scene. You can see the firefighter climb out of the helicopter and repel down a rope to the injured hiker below.

The area is about an hour away from the famed Crouching Lion Hike on Oahu's windward side.

Fire officials say a 25-year-old man fell about 20 feet while he was hiking with some friends and then he slid another 150 feet down the mountain side.

A friend who was with him identified him as Cesar Romero, a Schofield soldier originally from New York, who has done the hike before.  The woman said he was climbing a rope when his bag fell and he tried to climb back down to get it but lost his grip.

The cell phone video shows the rescue team pluck him from the side of the cliff.  He is then taken to the landing zone at Swanzy Beach Park where paramedic are waiting to assist him.

Firefighters said he suffered injuries to the left side of his body and his face, but he was alert and oriented.  They said he was taken to the Queen's Medical Center where he is currently in serious but stable condition.

HFD Capt. David Jenkins says it is a very difficult and dangerous trail.

"The trail, Puu Manamana, is a very, very hazardous trail. There are certain portions of it that are extremely treacherous, where the trail itself is no wider than a sidewalk and the trail drops menacingly on either side…from a hundred feet to several hundred feet," he said.

Capt. Jenkins says there have been fatalities at that trail in the past.  Barb Bruno with the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club says it's an "expert-level trail," which is the highest rating.

"Most of our hikes are open to the public.  But there are hikes, because of the danger level, we restrict to members. And this is one of the hikes that is restricted to members because of its danger level," Bruno said.

The Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club wants to remind everyone it's always safer to hike in a group or a club and to never explore outside your skill range.

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