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Hiker Dies at Wailua Falls on Kauai

Hiker Dies at Wailua Falls on Kauai

The Kauai Police Department (KPD) has identified a 28-year-old female who died at Wailua Falls on October 22nd, 2022 as Nicole Chavez of Chile, reports the County of Kauai.

According to a preliminary report, KPD personnel received a call of a lost hiker at approximately 3:50 PM. A traveling partner of Chavez reportedly asked hikers nearby to assist with locating her after she didn’t return to the Wailua Falls lookout for two hours. Hikers made their way to the bottom of the falls and located Chavez, who was unresponsive.

Personnel with the Kauai Fire Department, including firefighters with the Līhue fire station, Air 1, Rescue 3, and the on-duty Battalion Chief, assisted in recovering the victim.

Foul play is not suspected in Chavez’s death.

The Wailua Falls Hike is a short, steep and prohibited trail that takes hikers to the bottom of Wailua Falls. The trail is inherently dangerous and there are signs from the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources that say “Danger Keep Out Hazardous Conditions!” Nevertheless, despite the warnings, a steady stream of visitors make the hike daily. Many of the visitors do the hike on a whim after seeing people at the bottom of the falls from the main viewing area overlooking the falls.

Hiker Dies Wailua Falls

The crux of the trail is down a very steep and slippery slope. Hikers must hold on to roots, limbs and handy ropes (if present) to safely navigate the slope. One slip, trip or fall down the slope will likely result in serious injury or death. In the interest of safety, officials remind everyone that Wailua Falls is closed off to hiking.

Volunteers with Life’s Bridges, a grief counseling service, and Visitor Aloha Society of Kauai (VASK), a nonprofit that provides emergency needs for visitors, are assisting the victim’s traveling partner. KPD is working with the Chilean Consulate of Honolulu and Los Angeles.

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