Firefighters brave treacherous conditions to rescue hiker atop Mauna Kea

Firefighters brave treacherous conditions to rescue hiker atop Mauna Kea
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

MAUNA KEA, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Big Island firefighters braved extremely treacherous conditions Monday night to rescue a hiker who got injured near the summit of Mauna Kea.

Fire officials said the man in his 60s was in an area about a mile away from the nearest trail near the Keck Observatory — at an elevation of approximately 12,500 feet.

He was trying take a photograph when the ground gave way, officials said.

After responding to the call around 7:30 p.m., it took rescuers 30 minutes to hike the one mile from the trailhead to where the man was located.

The hike was called an “uneven and dangerous," and the temperature was in the 30s.

Rescuers eventually located the man, who had an apparent femur fracture, officials said.

Crews then had to haul the patient in a Sked — a sled-like stretcher for rescue operations — but they could only move about 10 feet at a time before stopping to catch their breath due to the high altitude.

In all, it took three and a half hours to haul the man one mile out and 700 feet up.

Some of the rescuers struggled with altitude sickness, but they eventually got him to safety.

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