Firemen left a helicopter yesterday after unsuccessfully searching for a missing hiker. The 27-year-old was lifted out yesterday afternoon after her pink pareu was spotted from the air.

Hiker missing for
2 days found safe

The woman's pareu is spotted
in Nuuanu despite low clouds

After a two-day search, rescuers found a missing Manoa hiker yesterday despite being hindered by windy and cloudy weather.

A helicopter operator spotted Karis Elizabeth Johns' pink pareu laid out on the ground in a gully in upper Nuuanu about 2:30 p.m. yesterday, said Kenison Tejada, a spokesman for the Honolulu Fire Department who was involved in the search.

Johns heard the helicopters earlier that day and figured there were people looking for her, but she couldn't see them because of the low cloud cover, Tejada said. Clouds limited search crews' visibility, and strong winds restricted accessibility to the area, making the search very difficult, he said.

"There's not enough safe clearance for the helicopter to operate and drop those guys inside," Tejada said.

Once rescue crews determined Johns' location, a military helicopter with a drop line was called in and pulled Johns to safety.

Johns, 27, was taken to the Queen's Medical Center for minor cuts and bruises, and released last night.

According to Tejada, Johns said she thought she was following Manoa Falls Trail on Sunday, but by 4:30 p.m. realized she was lost and called 911. Her last words to the emergency operator were that she was hurt and lost somewhere along the summit of a ridge overlooking Nuuanu Valley. Then her cellular phone went dead.

Tejada said rescue crews worked with her cellular phone company to determine her identity and potential locations.

Police said she made her last call from the summit area near the Manoa Falls Trail.

"The general area she was calling from was the west face of the Nuuanu/Pali ridge," said missing persons investigator Phil Camero.

Police said Johns also sent text messages to a friend reporting the progress of her hike.

"At 3 p.m. she text-messaged that she was at the summit and at 3:30 she texted that she was heading back," said CrimeStoppers Coordinator Sgt. Kim Capllonch. "Then at 4:30 she texted she was lost and hurt. ... She didn't say how she was hurt."

Because a missing persons report was not filed for Johns, police could not confirm her identity or that she was missing until 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, Tejada said. Although the call could have been a prank or a mistake, the Honolulu Fire Department sent search crews into the area Sunday and Monday looking for the then-unidentified hiker.

Johns was not the only hiker reported missing in Honolulu. During their search for Johns, another hiker alerted fire officials yesterday that he had gone hiking with a friend of his in the same area, they had gotten separated and his friend had not come out of the brush in the Nuuanu area.

But the search was called off after the hiker walked out on his own yesterday afternoon.

"That guy got lost by the Judd Trail. ... It's busy here," Tejada said.

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