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Fall At Haleakala National Park Kills Man And The Horse He Was Riding


The Halemauu Trail switchbacks down into the Haleakala crater at Haleakala National Park. NPS photo.

An investigation is under way into the death of a man and horse that fell off a cliff inside the crater at Haleakala National Park.

Park officials say Edward Wilson, of Maui, and his horse went off a 100-foot cliff along the Halemauu Trail that winds down into the crater. The man was on a family outing Monday; he was the only one on horseback. Park spokesman Naaman Horn said Mr. Wilson was ahead of the rest of the group, and no one actually saw the fall.

While Mr. Wilson's body was retrieved from the crater on Tuesday, the horse was buried inside the crater.


I spoke to a friend of the victim this morning. The rider was in relatively poor physical condition and needed to ride a horse to accompany a party of friends into the crater. We have had some rain recently, so the trail may have been slippery. Locally, the trail is known as "Switchbacks" and is a more primitive version of the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon. I have hiked the trail, and it does have steep drop offs along some sections.

My dad was in excellent condition and always traveled with his horse. He could have easily walked the Halemau'u trail. He was taking his grandchildren and neices for the first time and thought it would be nice to give them all a ride once he got to the bottom. His horse was 28 years old and was not very enthusiastic about making the trip. The trail was dry and not wet. Please be sensitive of what you write. Mahalo -Kitty Kehaunani

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