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Man survives 115-foot fall off cliff

Search and Rescue Ranger John Broward stands at the location behind Volcano House where the man fell 115 feet onto Halemaumau Trail below. (Photo courtesy HVNP)


Park rangers on Tuesday, Aug. 13 rescued a man who had been stranded overnight after climbing over a barrier and falling 115 feet down a sheer cliff behind Volcano House in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

At approximately 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, a hiker told park rangers at Kilauea Visitor Center she heard someone crying for help from the dense vegetation along Halemaumau Trail, which lies directly below the hotel.

Although she thought it was a prank, she reported the cries anyway.

Rangers were able to locate the man, and the park’s Search and Rescue (SAR) Coordinator John Broward was lowered by helicopter and pulled him to safety as the sun began to set.

The man was identified as 73-year-old Harry Osachy of Kurtistown. Osachy is Micronesian and speaks little English, but told rescuers he had fallen Monday. The exact time is unknown.

Osachy was transported by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center, with injuries to his pelvis and shoulder. He had numerous scrapes and suffered from dehydration.

“Luckily, he landed in a dense thicket of native uluhe fern, which broke his fall,” Broward said.

It is the 13th SAR mission at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park this year. Last year, park SAR crews responded to a total of 26 incidents.

“Once again, risky behavior by a visitor endangered the lives of our staff,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando, who was on site during the rescue. “We were able to execute an exemplary response from our cadre of specially trained first responders, and thankfully no one else was injured.”

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