By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
These three Palolo hikers were out for a walk yesterday on
the Lanipo Trail at the top of Wilhelmina Rise. Mailei, right,
noticed he could see the area where he lives in the valley
below. Just for fun he took off his shirt and started yelling
and doing a slap dance, hoping someone would see.
Someone did see but thought the hikers were in trouble
and called 911. Air One dropped off a couple of
firefighters near Mailei, and he assured them the
hikers were OK. The three are Mailei, Richard,
left, and John. They declined to give their last names.
Rescue crew findsPat Omandam
hikers dance was
no call for help
Hikers in distress who don't have a cellular phone, a flare gun or a makeshift flag may want to consider trying this hands-on way to call for help: a slap dance.
Honolulu Fire Department rescuers responded to a call at 11:18 a.m. yesterday from a Palolo Valley resident who reported a man needed help on the Lanipo Trail at the top of Wilhelmina Rise.
The department's Air One rescue helicopter responded and dropped two rescuers on the scene, who quickly discovered there was no emergency, said pilot Steven Aiu.
"They talked to him, and he said he was waiting for his other friends to come down the trail," Aiu said. "He was OK, so we brought our rescue men down and that was it."
The operation took less than an hour.
But there's more to the story, said Star-Bulletin photographer Ken Ige, who happened to be on the trail and spoke with the hiker.
Ige said the man, who identified himself as Mailei, was out for a walk with two friends when he noticed he could see the area where he lives in the valley. Just for fun, Mailei told Ige he took off his shirt and started yelling and doing a slap dance, hoping someone down below would see.
Palolo Fire Captain Steven Bethel said a resident on Kuahea Street noticed a man on the ridge yelling and waving his arms. Bethel said the resident, whom he declined to identify, waited for 15 minutes before he called the fire department.
"He didn't know if the guy was calling for help or anything, so he called for us," Bethel said.
"We got to the scene and we saw the guy, too. He wasn't waving his shirt, but he was kind of looking down. To Air One he looked like he was kind of agitated," he said.
Ige said Mailei and his friends, Richard and John, declined to give their last names.
The department classifies these false-alarm cases as "good intent" calls which people shouldn't feel ashamed about.
Bethel said it is better to call in an alarm and have it checked out rather than to let it go without the department knowing about it -- even if it is just a guy slap-dancing on the ridge.
"Unfortunately, there's no law against standing up on one of those hills and flapping your shirt around, and screaming and yelling," Bethel said.
"We had to check it out and see what was going on."