Big Island firefighters rescue 14 trapped by raging waters on Lalakea trail

Big Island firefighters rescue 14 trapped by raging waters on Lalakea trail

WAIPIO VALLEY, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii County firefighters airlifted 14 people in two separate groups who were trapped by raging waters on the Lalakea trail near Waipio Valley on Monday.

Firefighters responded to the alarm at around 3:50 p.m. where they found the individuals from an ATV tour stranded by high waters due to flash flooding.

There were no injuries reported.

Jill Bolstridge, a New York resident, was one of the individuals who got stranded and documented the entire ordeal on video, from the heavy rain to the raging waters to the helicopter rescue.

On August 17, 2015, a friend and I went on an ATV tour through Waipio Valley on the Big Island. Crossed a bridge over a river where a few of us jumped in and started swimming between two waterfalls when there was a sudden flash flood. I felt the water pulling me toward the second waterfall (a 60 foot drop) but was close enough to grab a rock and pull myself out. The other two swimmers also pulled themselves out and that's when it really came pouring down. Four feet to the left and all three of us would have been swept over the falls. So we pulled up onto the river bed and then the water flooded the bridge and it was completely destroyed. Two guides, four other riders, my friend, and I were all stranded on a platform and a few rocks on the other side of the gushing river for four hours while the water level rose higher and higher. We literally had to climb trees to keep out of the gushing water right in front of a 60 foot drop from the waterfall. Search & Rescue were sent out to assess the situation and we were finally rescued by helicopter four hours later. We had to ride in a basket, two at a time, from a long cable from the helicopter, where we were dropped back on the other side. We then rode our ATVs back down the mountain. The guides said this has never happened before in all their years taking people on ATV tours. For me, it was the most awesome thing that could have happened. 

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