Mother Nature turned a hiking trip into a fight for survival in Kalihi Valley on Tuesday. A group of teenagers got swept away in a raging stream.
Seven teenagers from Pearl City found out the hard way.
The group went hiking to a waterfall pool known as Ice Ponds. At about 11:30 a.m., as they were leaving, they tried to cross Kalihi Stream.
“But they all described it. It was a surge of water that came down and caused the stream to be a raging torrent,” Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Terry Seelig said.
Mother Nature hit parts of Oahu with heavy downpours, with flood advisories posted on and off throughout the day, causing the stream to rise.
Three girls and a boy got swept away. The others tried to help.
“Because they didn’t have their phones, they didn’t have anything. So they couldn’t call rescue, so there was a man walking and they asked him to use the phone,” witness Debbie Azama-Park said.
The teens called for help. Police, EMS, and firefighters responded and waited at different locations along the stream, ready for a possible rescue.
“One fireman that was in the water holding a rope and I guess waiting for someone to come down the stream,” Azama-Park said.
The raging waters carried the group several hundred yards, but fortunately they were able to get out.
Witnesses say a neighbor’s friend helped with the rescue.
“Some of the teens came out and they looked scared and a bit concerned,” Azama-Park said.
Emergency and rescue officials are urging people to beware of the environment and to pay attention to the weather at all times.
“If it’s been raining, it’s going to be muddy. If it’s been raining hard, you’ll get rising water and if you’re anywhere near a stream or waterfall pool, it can be prove to be very, very, very dangerous,” Seelig said.
The teenagers were treated at the Queen’s Medical Center for minor scrapes and bruises.