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Man Survives 115-Foot Fall at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

August 14, 2013

Hawaii National Park, Hawaii Park rangers on Tuesday rescued a man who had been stranded overnight after climbing over a barrier and falling 115 feet down a sheer cliff behind Volcano House in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

At approximately 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday, a hiker told park rangers at Kīlauea Visitor Center that she heard someone crying for help from the dense vegetation along Halema‘uma‘u Trail, which lies directly below the hotel. Although she thought it was a prank, she reported the cries anyway.

Rangers were able to locate the man, and the park’s Search and Rescue (SAR) Coordinator John Broward was lowered by helicopter and pulled him to safety as the sun began to set. The man was identified as 73-year-old Harry Osachy of Kurtistown.  Osachy is Micronesian and speaks little English, but told rescuers that he had fallen on Monday. The exact time is unknown.

Osachy was transported by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center, with injuries to his pelvis and shoulder. He had numerous scrapes and suffered from dehydration.

“Luckily, he landed in a dense thicket of native ‘uluhe fern, which broke his fall,” Broward said.

It is the thirteenth SAR mission at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park this year. Last year, park SAR crews responded to a total of 26 incidents.

“Once again, risky behavior by a visitor endangered the lives of our staff,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando, who was on site during the dramatic rescue. “We were able to execute an exemplary response from our cadre of specially trained first responders, and thankfully no one else was injured,” she said.

Park Ranger Travis Delimont

Park Ranger Travis Delimont points out the ‘uluhe fern thicket that broke the man’s fall. NPS Photo.

Park Ranger John Broward descends

Park Search and Rescue Coordinator John Broward is lowered into the rainforest by helicopter pilot David Okita

Ranger Broward retrieved the victim.

Ranger Broward retrieved the victim.

'uluhe

Native plants helped saved a man’s life!

Search and Rescue Coordinator John Broward stands at the exact location where the man went over the edge

Search and Rescue Coordinator John Broward stands at the exact location where the man went over the edge

 

Park staff and Superintendent Cindy Orlando on site during the rescue.

Park staff and Superintendent Cindy Orlando on site during the rescue.

 

 

 

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