by: Beth Hillyer
(KHNL) - He set out yesterday on what would be the hike of his life.
Instead, it nearly cost him his life.
This afternoon firefighters rescued an injured hiker who spent the night stranded after falling down a cliff.
Rescuers feared finding the hiker would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
22-year-old Dylan Sanchez started at Aina Haina trailhead and planned to hike miles over the Koolau's ending at the Maunawili trail. However, he never made it.
Captain Gary Lum of the Honolulu Fire Department says the last contact Sanchez made was around 4:30 yesterday afternoon. And then, there was no contact for 24 hours.
Rescue crews say from the air, they did not know where to look. Fortunately, the stranded hiker made a fire and waved a blue tarp at the passing rescue chopper.
Rescue worker, Corey Lau says, "He was kinda tucked in pretty tight and the aircraft pilot did a good job getting us into the area."
Sanchez's mother says "We are so relieved they found him so relieved these guys are great." His father even expressed his gratitude saying, "They were willing to endanger their own lives to save our son's life."
Sanchez says he did make some mistakes. "I went out too late and it got dark and I didn't know the Koolau's was that steep," he says. "I didn't get lost just got stuck and couldn't make it out. I couldn't go back out because my shoulder got dislocated and I couldn't climb up, Sanchez adds"