A man from Holland who was missing overnight from Kūlanaokuaiki Campground in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Tues., April 5 has been located.
Gerrit Voortis, 63, and his wife, were camping at Kūlanaokuaiki, a campground located off Hilina Pali Road Tuesday afternoon. Voortis left his wife to go on a short hike by himself, and did not bring water, a phone, or a backpack with him. Park dispatch was notified by another concerned camper when he failed to return later that afternoon. Neither a County of Hawai‘i helicopter pilot nor the park’s search-and-rescue (SAR) team could locate him by nightfall. The SAR team continued to search for him on the ground until 10 p.m.
Around 6:30 the next morning, Wed., April 6, the park’s contracted helicopter pilot spotted a glow from a small fire, and located the man northeast of the campground. The pilot landed, and search-and-rescue rangers treated him for dehydration. Voortis was in good condition, but was cold, hungry and very thirsty. The small fire he built for warmth the night before was extinguished by park rangers.
Voortis and his wife were reunited at the park’s Visitor Emergency Operations Center Wednesday morning, and both expressed gratitude for the efforts made in his rescue.
“It’s extremely important to be prepared when going on any hike, whether it’s a short walk, or an extended trek into the backcountry,” said Chief Ranger John Broward. “Plan ahead, research the area, and always have plenty of water,” he said. A detailed checklist of safety tips is provided on the park website.