close Hawaii rental car hauled up cliff after driver plunged over edge Video

Hawaii rental car hauled up cliff after driver plunged over edge

A recovery team lifts a rental Jeep up a cliff in Hawaii over the weekend after officials say a man inadvertently drove over the edge while trying to see the sunrise. The man was rescued from the water below. (waterman_mike via Storyful)

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A man driving toward a cliff in Hawaii to watch the sunrise inadvertently plunged over the edge and was rescued from the ocean, according to a local report.

Fishermen reported a swimmer in distress around 3:40 a.m. near the South Point Cliffs area in Naalehu on Hawaii’s Big Island, the Big Island Fire Department told KHON2. Fire officials said it took first responders about 30 minutes to get to the area due to the rural terrain.

“We might have had a few cars drive in the harbor in Kailua due to mapping issues, but my understanding is he was going off-roading and not paying attention to where he was going,” Hawaii Island Fire Chief Kazuo Todd told the station.

The man, whose name was not publicly released, was driving in the area to see the sunrise, fire officials said.


crews hauling car up cliff

The vehicle went over a cliff in Naalehu on Hawaii’s Big Island over the weekend. (waterman_mike via Storyful)

Mike Moody, one of the fishermen in the group that witnessed the man’s rental Jeep fall over the edge of the cliff, told the station that he believes the man “would have died 100%” if his dive partner did not spot him getting swept up in the water’s strong current.

crews hauling car up cliff

Fire officials said the driver was trying to see the sunrise when the car plunged over the edge of the cliff. (waterman_mike via Storyful)

“His driver side door was locked or pinned by a rock,” according to Moody. “He couldn’t get out the driver side, so he went to the passenger side of the upside-down vehicle, and as soon as he opened the door, he fell immediately in the water.”


crews hauling car up cliff

The man was rescued from the water with some facial injuries, scratches and slight hypothermia. (waterman_mike via Storyful)

Fire officials and the Coast Guard found the man about 100 yards from shore and coached him to a safe area on the shoreline, where he was rescued, fire officials said. He suffered from some facial injuries, scratches and slight hypothermia, according to the report.


On Monday, a tow truck hauled the rental vehicle up the side of the cliff using technical ropes and removed the vehicle from the scene.

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