Female hiker killed in 200-foot fall off trail near Crouching Lion

Kaisha Chu (Photo: Bill Powers, HPU sports information director)

 

A woman died after falling off a trail in Windward Oahu Wednesday.

The Honolulu Fire Department received a call for a hiker in distress at 4:48 p.m. on the Puu Manamana trail near Crouching Lion.

Officials say the 22-year-old was with two other hikers when she fell 200 feet off the trail.

Crews scoured the cliff face before finding her at around 5:30 p.m. She was airlifted to Swanzy Beach Park where she was pronounced dead.

On Thursday, loved ones identified her as Kaisha Chu, beloved daughter, sister, and team player.

Chu was a star soccer player at Moanalua High School and Hawaii Pacific University, where she graduated in May.

They say she was home on Christmas break from graduate school, spending time with family and friends.

Vince Baldemor, HPU executive director of athletics, released the following statement:

“Our Hawaii 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.”

Kaisha Chu (Photo: Bill Powers, HPU sports information director)
Kaisha Chu (Photo: Bill Powers, HPU sports information director)
kaisha-chu
Photo: Alex Hoang

Alex Hoang is still coming to terms with the tragic loss of his longtime friend.

“She was an amazing athlete at her time at school. She was a very loving person. She’ll do more for you than you could ever do for her,” he said. “She is a thrill-seeker. She’s adventurous. She loves having grown up here in Hawaii. She loves what Hawaii has to offer and she took every advantage of it.”

Hoang says Chu’s mother and brother flew in Thursday afternoon.

“When I see Aunty Cindy, I’m going to go up to her and hug her, and tell her I love her, and that I’m sorry for what’s happened,” he said. “I don’t have to say much, because she knows how I feel. She knows what she meant to me and what I meant to her and her family, so really a hug would just do it for us.”

Kylie Mitsuda was too emotional to speak on camera, but offered this message of remembrance for her friend:

“She was a beautiful, free spirited, and genuine soul. Well respected and loved not only among the soccer community but among HPU and the Moanalua ohana. She impacted so many lives and I couldn’t have asked for a better blessing to be apart of my family all these years. She’s in a better place now and as much as a tragic it is to us, we know she passed doing what she loved. It’s a hard pill to swallow for all who knew her but together we’ll get through it all and cherish every memory of her. We love you Kaisha. Till we see your beautiful face again, Rest in paradise my love.”

Photo: Kylie Mitsuda
Photo: Kylie Mitsuda

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources says Puu Manamana is an unsanctioned trail, and warning signs are in place at its entrance. Hikers who go beyond those signs are in violation of State Parks rules.

A DLNR spokeswoman said, “It is ranked on social media as Oahu’s most dangerous trail by the public and first responders. Comments online seem to confirm that it is dangerous due to the narrow ridges, unstable and weathered soil and sheer cliffs on either side in some sections. In addition, fire rescue has had to execute rescues and on site medical service in the past so the assumption that it is dangerous is warranted.”

KHON2 spoke with Marcus Griego of 808 Caveman Hiking Group about the hike, “It’s crazy. I see people doing crazy stuff all the time. These guys or gals are not properly equipped. I’m amazed that more people haven’t fallen with what these people are doing. It’s very crumbly and what people are doing is crazy. If you grab a wrong hold you could fall off.”

This isn’t the first time a hiker has encountered trouble on the trail.

In March 2015, a man fell 20 feet down an embankment then slid another 150 feet. He survived.

In June 2013, a 23-year-old woman slipped and fell 300 feet. Rescue crews rushed her to the hospital where she died.

Fire officials say Puu Manamana is very dangerous and the public should avoid such treacherous trails.

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