Hiker killed after falling from Kaaawa trail remembered as outgoing, athletic

Hiker killed after falling from Kaaawa trail remembered as outgoing, athletic
Kaisha Chu (image provided by Cindy Chu)
Kaisha Chu (image provided by Cindy Chu)
Kaisha Chu with mother and brother (image provided by Cindy Chu)
Kaisha Chu with mother and brother (image provided by Cindy Chu)
Kaisha Chu and brother (image provided by Cindy Chu)
Kaisha Chu and brother (image provided by Cindy Chu)
Kaisha Chu (image provided by Cindy Chu)
Kaisha Chu (image provided by Cindy Chu)

KAAAWA,OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Friends and family remembered the 22-year-old hiker who died Wednesday after falling 200 feet from Crouching Lion Trail as outgoing, athletic and everyone's best friend.

"She was my life," said Kaisha Chu's mother, Cindy. "She was my baby and she will always be … I don't know what we're gonna do without her."

Chu was on the mainland with her son when they got the dreadful phone call.

The Medical Examiner's Office said Kaisha Chu died of blunt force injuries to the head, neck, torso and lower extremities.

Chu was a 2011 graduate of Moanalua High School, and was in her first year as a graduate student at Seattle University studying Criminal Justice.

She was home for the holidays and had been hiking with two others when she fell.

Rescuers had to rappel down to her. When she was found, she had no pulse and was not breathing. She was airlifted to a landing zone at Swanzy Beach Park in Kaaawa, where she was pronounced dead.

A hiking expert called the trail among the most treacherous.

"It's a really premiere trail on the island. It is an advanced trail. So it does have its dangers and those are basically the drop off, hiking some exposed faces," said Ralph Valentino, hiking coordinator with Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club.

Valentino said signs have recently been posted at the trail that say, "Area Closed! Do not go beyond this sign."

Many knew Chu for her athleticism. She was an outstanding soccer player for Moanalua High School and Hawaii Pacific University.

"She was one of the bigger-hearted persons that I've known in my life and she definitely would go out of her way to make sure that your day was better than hers," said one of Chu's best friends, Alex Hoang.

"She was an exciting person. She was always happy, happy go lucky. Well respected. She respected the coaches, the team. She was an excellent child," said Kaisha's childhood soccer coach Rod Fujimoto.

Chu started on the Moanalua High School girls' varsity soccer team as a freshman. She was a member of three OIA championship teams and named second team all-state defender in 2012.

Head Coach Nikki Delapena said she was the perfect image of student athlete.

"Players sometimes come and go, but the ones that make an impact, you keep in your heart no matter how long they've been gone," Delapena said.

Chu was also a key player at Hawaii Pacific University.

The university released this statement:

"Our Hawai'i Pacific University 'ohana was deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Kaisha Chu, an HPU alumna who graduated in May 2016. During her time here, Kaisha was a beloved student and valued team player on our HPU Women's Soccer Team. Our heartfelt condolences are with the Chu family during this difficult time," said Executive Director of Athletics Vince Baldemor.

Chu said life will never be the same without her baby girl, but she takes comfort knowing all the lives her daughter has touched.

"I always try to end our conversations with telling them I love them and they always tell me they love me. So I don't have any regrets because I know she knew how much she was loved."

She added that their faith keeps them going.

"It was very, very difficult to not be able to hold her one last time to not be able to tell her I love you one last time. Her best friend was there … and she was so distraught and I kept telling her, 'God has her, God has her. And I knew. And that brings us comfort.

"We all believe and we all knew that when she fell that God had her in His hands."

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