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Hikers get stranded on Stairway to Heaven trail damaged by a storm on Valentine's Day


Five hikers were trapped on the Stairway to Heaven hike Feb. 15 and spent the night on the trail because it was too dark for officials to rescue them, reported Hawaii News Now. They attempted the hike the day after a section of the stairway was damaged during a storm.The five hikers, one man and four women, says Hawaii News Now, started their adventure midday Sunday, Feb. 15, in the Moanalua Valley and got "stuck" on the Kaneohe side of the ridge. Hikers used their cellphones to call 911, around 7:15 p.m. that night. By the time the Hawaii Fire Department dispatched four units and 12 personnel, HFD decided it was too dark to rescue the stranded hikers. The hikers then spent the night on the trail. HFD resumed their search early Monday around 6:30 a.m. According to the Star Advertiser, HFD used one of the hiker's cell phones' GPS utility to locate the hikers. Once found, the hikers were air lifted in a helicopter from the ridge 8:21 a.m. that morning. The Star Advertiser reported they were flown to Kaneohe District Park and none of the hikers needed medical attention. According to Hawaii News Now, the trail was damaged in a landslide on Feb. 14. Several railings and stairs were damaged so badly that officials are considering closing the hiking trail and even ripping it out. According to the Huffington Post, the stairway was originally wooden and "was installed during World War ll so the military could access a radio station antennae 2,000 feet up the mountain." In the 1950s the stairway was restored with steel steps leading to a new Coast Guard navigation station. The area has been closed since the ‘80s and a security guard is posted at the entrance for most of the day. According to the Huffington Post, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply has jurisdiction over the hike now and "requires that anyone who goes up it signs waivers and presents a $1 million liability insurance policy."
Writer: Kaitlin Broyles