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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, February 5, 2006

3 hurt as raft goes over falls

By Karen Blakeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

Two women were badly injured on the Big Island after the raft they were riding went over a 30-foot waterfall yesterday afternoon.

One woman was in critical condition and the other was in serious condition at North Hawai'i Community Hospital, firefighters said in a statement released late last night.

Firefighters said five people had been on a raft riding an irrigation flume about a mile in from White Road in Waimea.

As the raft approached the falls, three men on the raft recognized the danger and jumped off.

The women remained on the raft and went over the falls and into the stream below.

The men were able to get to the bottom of the falls and pulled the women out. Two stayed with them while the third man hiked out for help.

The women were lying by the stream when firefighters arrived.

Firefighters were unable to land helicopters in the remote area, so the helicopters lowered four rescuers to the ground on cables.

The rescuers prepared the women for transport and the helicopters lifted them out.

The woman in critical condition was flown directly to North Hawai'i Community Hospital. The second woman was taken to the same hospital by an ambulance.

One of the men was also taken by ambulance to the hospital for minor injuries, firefighters said.

Reach Karen Blakeman at kblakeman@honoluluadvertiser.com.