A man hiking a trail in Hawaii was found alive Saturday afternoon after he was reported missing four days ago, officials said.
Justin Clark, 32, began his trek at the Schofield-Waikane trailhead Wednesday at 5 a.m., officials said. Clark’s mother, Shirley Seeger, told KHON 2 she texted him later that day when he missed his doctor appointment. He told Seeger he took a wrong turn and fell.
The station reports he sent a second and final text at 4:08 p.m. saying he had gotten out of the area and was making his way along a ridge.
After Seeger didn’t hear from him for the rest of the day, she reported him missing to the Honolulu Police Department. She said Clark was familiar with the trail and had hiked it frequently in the past.
Honolulu police was able to obtain multiple plot points from Clark’s cell phone carrier to formulate a search. Fire officials say it’s easy for a hiker to become disoriented once leaving the trail.
“There are parts of it that the terrain is rugged. As you get off the trail, it’s hard to get back on the trail,” said battalion chief Alan Carvalho with the Honolulu Fire Department. “There’s places that are very difficult to find or, if you get down into a ravine, it’s hard to climb back up and get on it again.”
In order to gain access to the trail, a hiker must file a request to the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Real Property Office. However, Army officials said Clark didn’t request permission to hike the trail.
Clark was initially taken to Iliahi Elementary School and then transported to Queen’s Medical Center in stable condition. Some are calling his discovery a Fourth of July miracle.
“He looks a little beat up,” Seeger said. “But he’s OK. He’s alert, oriented, walking. He walked. And a little dehydrated. And skinnier.”
The Maui Search and Rescue group also assisted police and firefighters in the search. Both the group and Seeger praised the Honolulu Fire Department for their help.