Drone records hikers in Hawaii caught in near-deadly flash flood

© Renee L
A video-capable drone captured a group of hikers caught up in a flash flood on the Hawaiian island of Maui last week. The rush of water hit as one of the hikers stood before a 30-foot tall waterfall.

The group had stopped at the waterfall after a long hike during a rainy day in Maui, according to Renee Lusano, who wrote of the account on her blog. Lusano flew her drone overhead as other hikers climbed up the waterfall to jump.

"[S]uddenly without warning there was an enormous rush of water coming over the waterfall, it had to have been instantly 50 times as much water rushing over, and the water was flowing fast," Lusano wrote, as those situated on a nearby beach scrambled to locate a friend, Sean, who was at the mouth of the waterfall when the flood occurred.

"There was no other option in my mind than that I had just seen our friend disappear and be killed, and there was nothing we could do about it. The water was rushing to the beach like a big wave to shore and we scrambled to grab our backpacks and cameras from getting washed away.”

Sean eventually surfaced, all as Lusano kept recording. A fellow hiker then called 911, and a rescue helicopter arrived more than an hour later.

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"The helicopter set down the basket and the rescue guy jumped out and helped 2 of us into the basket at a time," Lusano wrote, adding that the group was eventually delivered to the spot where they had begun their hike.

Lusano and company were among the 16 people rescued from flash flooding in Maui that day, according to the Star-Advertiser.

"My five friends and I learned firsthand that flash flooding in Maui streams is a very serious danger," Lusano wrote. "I hope that our story and video spreads awareness and prevents similar rescues from having to take place in the future."