Stormy weather hobbles 2 rescue attempts on Kauai


POSTED: Monday, August 03, 2009

Strong wind and heavy rain hampered efforts in separate rescues on Kauai during the weekend.

The first rescue call came in at 3:32 p.m. Saturday after two men were injured when their ultralight aircraft crashed in Hanapepe Valley north of Burns Field.

Four rescue specialists from Lihue were flown to the area in a helicopter and airlifted one of the men to safety. He was taken to Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital and later flown to the Queen's Medical Center on Oahu where he was in stable condition, according to a Kauai County news release.

Two rescue specialists returned to the crash site to pick up the other man, but bad weather made the use of the helicopter impossible. Officials decided to leave the rescue personnel with the injured man overnight and try again yesterday morning.

Meanwhile, at 5:52 p.m. Saturday a second call came in about a hunter who had injured his ankle on Mokihana Ridge in Kokee. Because of the efforts in Hanapepe, officials decided to have the hunter remain on the ridge overnight and try to get him in the morning, the release said.

At 5 a.m. yesterday an attempt to fly to the ultralight-crash victim and the rescue personnel was aborted when wind and rain proved too formidable.

The chopper then picked up the injured hunter, who was treated at the veterans hospital and released. By then the weather had improved, allowing the helicopter to fly the crash victim and rescue staff from Hanapepe.

The crash victim was also flown to Queen's. His condition was not available.