Opihi pickers extricated in hazardous rescue operation

Two opihi pickers were rescued by Hawaii Fire Department personnel in a hazardous operation during darkness and heavy rain early Sunday morning.

The rescue took place in the Waipunalei area of Laupahoehoe, according to a written Fire Department statement.

Five companies, including heavy rescue and rescue utility responded to the 12:51 a.m. alarm to extract the men, who had climbed down a steep 100-foot embankment and used a rope system to descend another 100-foot cliff to pick opihi.

A fire rescuer was lowered down a cliff face to save one of the men, who was approximately 50 feet down the cliff. Another man was raised from the shoreline to safety by fire personnel.

Neither victim was injured and no fire personnel sustained injuries during the rescue.