Rescue crews help backpackers stranded by flooded Hanakapiai stream

It’s a popular trail for hikers, but when the weather gets bad, the journey on the Kalalau Trail can turn dangerous.

About a dozen hikers know this first hand after rain flooded the Hanakapiai stream Tuesday afternoon, trapping them on the trail.

Kauai firefighters were alerted, but before help could get there, some hikers tried to cross the stream.

“A few of them almost got swept out to sea,” said Alexander Lau who witnessed the scary ordeal.

Lau says some hikers tried to cross the stream on their own using a makeshift line, but after a close call their idea quickly changed.

“Pretty much all of their weight was being held up on the line and the line was very thin and had it snapped they would have been sucked out to sea,” said Lau.

Fortunately that didn’t happen.

“The last couple of them came very close to death and at that point they said you guys should not cross and I was of the same decision because the risk seemed simply to high,” said Lau.

Strong winds and rain made it too dangerous for Kauai firefighters to access the area with their helicopter.

Instead nearby lifeguards made the two mile hike to the stranded hikers and kept in communication with them until the stream finally subsided this morning.


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