Kaiser HS 2015 valedictorian dies while hiking Manoa Falls

Manoa Falls Fatal Hike
Published: Jun. 20, 2016 at 9:33 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 21, 2016 at 2:15 AM HST
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MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A hiking accident at one of Oahu's most popular trails has claimed the life of Kaiser High School's 2015 top valedictorian.  19-year-old Kristi Takanishi died Friday, two days after the tragic fall at Manoa Falls.

The accident happened just before sunset Wednesday.  Rescue crews tell us Kristi Takanishi was at the top of the falls when she fell 200 feet to the pond below. Sources say she was at the second waterfall with a friend taking pictures when she lost her balance, slipped, and fell off the edge.

Firefighters say Takanishi was with another woman when she fell.  We're told it took that person some time to hike back down to the bottom of the waterfall to help.  Meantime another group of hikers reported hearing what they say sounded like a thud.  Those witnesses say Takanishi was unconscious when they pulled her from the water.

"A parent had sent me a text message over the weekend.  And I couldn't believe it," said Kaiser High School Principal Justin Mew.

Mew called Takanishi's death a devastating loss.

"Not only for our school community, but for Hawaii in general.  She's somebody you know would have given back to humanity," said Mew.

Takanishi was a premed student at the University of Washington.  Principal Mew called her a well rounded student who excelled in more than just academics.

"Very soft spoken and yet she could express herself artistically through dance," said Mew.

"Even as someone who is just her classmate it's heartbreaking to hear about and it's hard because I know how many lives she touched as a human being and now all those people have a hole left because of what happened," said classmate Gianni Marabella.

Hawaii News Now couldn't get in touch with Takanishi family today. But we do know among those left behind is her twin sister.

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