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It was a wet day for parts of Oahu, with flash flood advisories and warnings throughout all of Tuesday.
A group of teenagers from Pearl City learned the hard way after getting swept down Kalihi Stream.
Off the Likelike Highway, deep in Kalihi Valley, is a set of waterfalls and pools known as “Ice Ponds.”
Kona Gaison decided to go there with his friends.
“When we were walking, people actually stopped us. They told us not to go up because their friends had been taken by the river,” Gaison said.
Despite the warning, Gaison decided to continue up the trail, leaving his friends behind.
“I wanted to check it out because I’m just like that,” Gaison said.
Soon after, he came across a girl who told him her friend needed help.
“So I followed her and she took me to the edge of the river. And I saw her calling for help on the other side of the river. So I tried to go across, straight across the river and hold onto branches and rocks so I wouldn’t get pulled away by the current, but then as I got closer to the other side of the river, there weren’t any branches or rocks to hold onto. And the current was really strong,” Gaison said.
He turned back, found some large branches, and laid it across the stream.
“I had to hold onto a branch and reached down to grab her, and I told her to use me as a leverage while she put her foot onto this branch and I pulled her up. When we got to the other side of the river, I just handed it over to the firefighter, and he took her back to the pathway, and the cops escorted her out,” Gaison said.
It turns out, the girl Gaison rescued was one of four teens who got swept away as their group tried to cross Kalihi Stream.
“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.
Luckily, everyone made it out okay.
The teens did not have any major injuries and were treated for scrapes and bruises.
It was a memorable trip to “Ice Ponds,” but for the wrong reasons. It was also a memorable trip for Gaison.
“I was kind of scared because I’ve never been in that kind of situation before, but I felt like it was something I had to do,” Gaison said.
He is only 18 years old, just a couple of years older than the teens who got swept down the stream.
“I pray they’re all safe, and out of harms way and hope they’re doing okay,” Gaison said.
Fire officials say this is a case in point why it’s dangerous to go near streams after it’s been raining, and especially after there have been warnings about flash flooding.