Maui firefighters responded to a man injured after he fell from a waterfall on the makai side of Hana Highway 360 Sunday afternoon.
Paia firefighters and a rescue crew aboard the Air 1 helicopter initially had trouble locating the injured party. The caller did not know the name of the trail they were on. They only knew they were near mile marker 6 of Hana Highway 360 and on the makai side of the highway near the ocean.
Poor cellphone reception hampered rescuers from communicating with the caller. Adding to the problem was that the victim was within a deep ravine and was not easily seen from the coast as Air 1 flew past them while searching.
At about 4:15 p.m., Air 1 finally located the victim conscious and floating face-up in a freshwater pond about a half-mile makai of Hana Highway, near the ocean. Air 1 lowered firefighters to the victim who was lying at the base of the waterfall. Rescue crews airlifted the man to a pasture near the Commando Trailhead off of Hana Highway where the man was treated by paramedics.
The victim, a 38-year-old Maui resident, was transferred to a waiting Medevac helicopter at 4:53 p.m. and airlifted to Maui Memorial Medical Center in serious condition.
The victim and a small group of friends had hiked into the area and were swimming in the freshwater ponds. The man was climbing down the side of a 60-foot waterfall when he slipped and fell the last 20 feet and landed on the rocks below, suffering serious injuries to his neck and back.
One person stayed with the victim while the rest of the party hiked out to call for help.