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If you’ve ever shrugged off a flash flood warning, this video’s for you.
While on vacation on the Hawaiian island of Maui last week, a group of hikers found themselves caught in a raging flash flood. To make matters worse, a few of the hikers were climbing a waterfall at the time — putting them in the worst possible place to face the onslaught of water.
Watch as the water quickly overtakes one of the hikers, forcing him over the edge of the waterfall and into the pool below:
"There was no other option in my mind," Renee Lusano, one of the hikers, later wrote on her blog, "than that I had just seen our friend disappear and be killed, and there was nothing we could do about it."
Thankfully, Lusano’s initial impression was wrong. Everyone in the group made it out safely — and Lusano’s drone happened to catch the entire experience on film from a bird’s-eye view.
"I wasn’t aware of whether it was recording or what it was recording," Lusano wrote on her blog. "I was only concerned that it was hovering high enough to be out of danger while I climbed to higher ground."
The group was hiking a popular trail near the beginning of Maui’s famed Road to Hana. They were unaware of the potential for flooding in that area.
"Without warning there was an enormous rush of water coming over the waterfall," Lusano wrote. "It had to have been instantly 50 times as much water rushing over."
Once the group escaped to higher ground, they were able to call 911 and were soon airlifted out of the area by an emergency search and rescue team.
"My five friends and I learned firsthand that flash flooding in Maui streams is a very serious danger," Lusano wrote of the experience. "I hope that our story and video spreads awareness and prevents similar rescues from having to take place in the future."
Hawaii, with its volatile weather patterns, can be a dangerous place for visitors who see it as a tropical playground. On that day alone, 16 people, including Lusano and her friends, were rescued due to flooding in East Maui.
Watch the whole video below to see how a relatively calm stream quickly turns into a torrent of murky water, and how the hikers scramble to find higher ground.
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