Two elderly hikers rescued from remote HVNP trail

The National Park Service said two experienced hikers, Volcano men ages 82 and 72, were rescued by county helicopter after becoming lost overnight and running out of water in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

According to a written HVNP statement, the men got a late start Wednesday afternoon from the Mau Loa o Mauna Ulu trailhead to Keauhou and wandered off trail during a rigorous 7.6-mile downhill hike through the Ka‘u Desert. The men didn’t reach the campsite and bedded down off trail overnight.

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On Thursday, they found a familiar landmark but because of the rough terrain and lack of water, were unable to make much distance. They called an emergency contact listed on their backcountry permit by 4 p.m., who called the park to report them lost.

Hawaii County Fire Department found the men on a rough, hardened lava field above Apua point and the helicopter rescued them.

Both men were mildly hydrated but didn’t require further medical attention, according to the statement.

“There are valuable lessons to be learned here — and they include allowing enough time to complete your hike, being mindful of weather conditions, and being adequately prepared for emergencies by having enough water,” said Jack Corrao, the park’s acting chief ranger. “It’s been extremely hot and dry on the coast, and we urge hikers to carry at least three to four quarts of water per person per day.”

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Corrao also noted that cellphone service is unreliable in many remote areas of the park.

NPS urges hikers to prepare for a trek with 10 essentials: map/compass/GPS; sun protection; insulation; illumination; first-aid supplies; matches or lighter; repair kit and tools; adequate food and water; and emergency shelter.