Alcohol a factor in hiker’s death
Park officials on Maui do not suspect foul play in the drowning
WAILUKU » The 27-year-old man whose body was retrieved yesterday from a mountain pool at Haleakala National Park had been drinking prior to either slipping or deciding to jump into the water, park spokesman Dominic Cardea said.
"It's fair to say alcohol was a contributing factor," Cardea said.
The body of Edward Pedrick Jr. of Kihei was found yesterday morning in a place known as the "Pool of No Return" above Makahiku Falls where he was last seen Saturday.
Cardea said the tremendous volume of water might have held Pedrick under, or he also might have been lodged under a ledge or caught in wires and other refuse at the 30- to 40-foot bottom of the pool.
Cardea said Pedrick was last seen above the falls by his two hiking companions Saturday, when he slipped or jumped 40 feet into the pool.
Cardea said park rangers had spoken to Pedrick earlier in the day about not swimming and about the streams in the area being closed for the past 21 days because of high water and swift currents.
The companions said Pedrick had been drinking, and they did not go to the pool with the intent of swimming.
"But when they went there, Pedrick wanted to jump in, and they were trying to discuss not to," Cardea said.
Cardea said the companions turned their backs to return to the hiking trail, when they heard a splash.
Cardea said Pedrick either decided to jump or slipped and that he never surfaced from the pool.
He was presumed dead since Sunday afternoon, following a land and air search along the stream and ocean coastline.
Cardea said there was no suspicion of foul play.
"The investigation seems to corroborate with what people had to say," he said.
Cardea said the appearance of the streams and pool can be deceiving. "It's not a county swimming pool," he said. "It's a wild stream."
The mountain waters at Haleakala National Park have claimed several lives in the past several years.
In May 2002, 42-year-old Xina Wang of New York drowned when she slipped off a rock into a pool and was washed into the ocean. In that case a federal judge awarded Wang's husband $2.3 million after finding that park staff knew of the hazards of the high stream flow but did not close access until after Wang was swept out.
In April 2003, Kentucky resident Kevin Brown, 39, and his 8-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, were caught in a flash flood when they attempted to cross the stream above Makahiku Falls and were swept over the falls and disappeared.
In August 2003, California resident Kevin Oakley, 41, drowned after being caught in a flash flood while trying to rescue his 7-year-old son, who was unable to cross Palikea Stream in Oheo Gulch.
Other people visiting the park were able to pull the boy out of the water downstream.
The park service later agreed to pay $2 million in a settlement to the Oakley family.