Hiking group on lava viewing tour airlifted out of Volcano after member sprains ankle


A Hawaii County Fire Department helicopter airlifted eight hikers on a trip Wednesday to view an active lava flow in the Kahaualea Forest Reserve after one of the group members, a 36-year-old woman, sprained her right ankle and was unable to walk out.

The woman was with five other hikers and two guides from Ahiu Hawaii Tours. Responding to the 5:03 p.m. call, fire rescue personnel found the group about 3.5 miles in on a trail, which goes through pristine, Hawaiian rain forest dominated by old growth ohia and large hapuu ferns. The sky was overcast, there was a light drizzle and the ground was saturated by recent rain showers. The injured hiker had sprained her ankle while walking on muddy, unstable ground, according to the Fire Department.

The group — a 13-year-old boy, a 35-year-old man, a 36-year-old woman, a 15-year-old girl, a 40-year-old woman and a 41-year-old woman — was airlifted from the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park property to a safe landing zone in the Fern Forest Subdivision and the injured hiker was examined by medic personnel from the Volcano Fire Station. There, the woman required no additional transport or other assistance from Fire Department units.