WAIMEA, HAWAII ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thirteen people had to be rescued in an hours-long operation after a quick swim in a stream turned into a frightening ordeal.
Hawaii County Fire Department officials said the group was swimming in a mountain stream in the hills above Anna’s Ranch in Waimea Saturday afternoon.
Things seemed to be fine until a flash flood engulfed the area and the large group got separated just after 4 p.m.
When rescuers arrived, they located the first three people on the western side of the stream. The search immediately began for the remaining 10.
This happened around the time heavy showers began falling over parts of Hawaii Island. At one point, a flash flood warning was issued for the north end of the island.
As crews continued to search, they later located three others walking through a pasture on the north side of the stream, and four more in different areas stranded along the rocks.
Officials said the final three hikers were located on the rocks behind a large waterfall. This rescue required crews to scale down a cliff roughly 150 to 200 feet to reach the hikers. Conditions were reportedly dark, windy and rainy as the rescue stretched into the night.
In total, the rescue took five hours, officials said.
Luckily, no one was seriously injured.
The public is reminded to exercise common sense during severe weather, and stay out of streams and low-lying areas when there is a threat of severe weather. Flash flooding can occur quickly and sometimes without advance warning.