Boulder crushes hiker on Maui
A 25-year-old hiker died in an apparent freak accident yesterday when a boulder believed to be at least 1,000 pounds rolled on top of him while he was cooling off alongside a riverbed, Maui firefighters said.
The man, who was hiking with friends, was either crouching or laying down at the riverbed in the Lelekea Gulch at about 2:30 p.m. when the boulder moved about a foot and crushed him, Fire Department acting Battalion Chief Jeff Murray said.
Murray said the boulder had a 4 to 5-foot diameter and is believed to have weighed between 1,000 pounds and 2,500 pounds. Rescuers are unclear why the boulder moved. Murray said it hadn't been raining.
"The stream was running, but it was nothing out of the ordinary," Murray said. "It just moved." The man, who had recently moved from the mainland, had been hiking with three or four friends, he said.
A bystander called police, who had to hike several miles out to the site. Haleakala National Park rangers also assisted in the rescue.
Fire fighters met the police and rangers as they were carrying the victim out and arranged a helicopter to pick the victim up.
The victim was taken to a staging area. It's unclear where he was pronounced dead, Murray said.
No one else was injured. Lelekea Gulch is located between Kipahulu and Kaupo after the paved highway ends.
This is the second boulder death in the area in less than two years. In September 2004, a Haleakala National Park ranger was killed when she was trying to clear a rockslide near the Kaapahu area.
In that incident, the victim was trying to remove rocks from a narrow road when she was hit by a rock from another hillside.