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Man dies after fall from Haleakala trail


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POSTED: Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Maui man and his horse died Monday after plunging over a 100-foot cliff on a switchback trail in Haleakala crater.

Edward Wilson, 65, of Kula was on a steep incline on Halemauu Trail when he and his horse apparently went off the trail, according to Haleakala National Park spokesman Naaman Horn.

The width of the trail can be narrow, sometimes 5 feet wide, said Horn.

Horn said there have been falls with riders and horses on the trail in the past but with no fatalities or serious injuries.

“;It's usually pretty minor,”; he said.

Wilson was on a family outing, and the group had entered Halemauu Trail near the park headquarters.

He was the only one riding a horse and was ahead of family members who were hiking to Holua Cabin when the fall took place about halfway down, Naaman said.

Park officials who received the emergency call at 1 p.m. Monday said there were no witnesses. The circumstances leading to his death were being investigated.

Horn said Wilson was familiar with the park.

“;He was a pretty frequent visitor to the crater,”; he said.

The remote location and cloudy weather prevented recovery of Wilson's body by helicopter until yesterday.

Horn said the horse will be buried at the bottom of the cliff.