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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, July 21, 2002

Man rescued off Portlock cliff

By Karen Blakeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

Firefighters had a tough time rescuing a 38-year-old man who was injured while jumping from a cliff yesterday near Spitting Caves off the tip of Portlock.

A man injured jumping off a cliff at Portlock's Spitting Caves yesterday is flown to safety. Firefighters had a hard time rescuing the man, who was stuck on a rock ledge.

Jeff Widener • The Honolulu Advertiser

Firefighters said the man did not jump at the usual spot chosen by thrillseekers, but at a site where the drop is nearly 30 feet and rocks extend into the water.

The man hit the rocks, then declined assistance from a team of women in a canoe. He chose to swim to land and try to climb the rock face.

The man injured his head, ribs and hand in the fall, said Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Kenison Tejada, but somehow climbed to a narrow ledge about 10 feet above the water.

At about 3:45 p.m. bystanders called 911.

Fire dispatchers called a boat, a helicopter and rescue crews, but the rocks were too steep and the ledge too narrow to reach the man by air or water.

Rescuers were considering rappelling, but a fire crew from Hawai'i Kai found a route along ridges on the rock face and climbed down with a Stokes litter basket.

Once the man was in the basket, HFD's Air 1 helicopter dropped a 300-foot line, which firefighters attached to the basket. The man was lifted to a boat ramp where an ambulance waited.

The ambulance took him to Koko Head Regional Park, where a military helicopter flew him to The Queen's Medical Center.

"It was quite an operation," said Hawai'i Kai Fire Capt. Robert Thomas. "It took us 30 or 40 minutes to reach him."

The man was in guarded condition at Queen's last night.