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Some of you may have heard the story a few weeks ago about Ian Snyder, a former PWaC writer and fellow travel blogger. Ian was hiking alone on Oahu in Hawaii and fell nearly 1,000 feet off a trail. Miraculously, he survived the fall with only a few broken bones and scratches. Even more miraculously, he landed near a stream and was able to survive for 3 days. He was too injured to be able to move much but was able to get water from the stream and survive until he was found.

I wanted to share a bit more about the story and also provide a link to a GoFundMe that was set up to help Ian and those that helped find him.

The Strange Email I got

So on the morning of Thursday December 7, I got a strange email from Ian’s sister Sara, who I had never met before. She said

Have you heard from my brother Ian Snyder in the last few days? I just saw a recent blog post that you did with Ian that posted today. He has been in Honolulu on a trip, and my parents got a call this evening that he didn’t pick up his boys from school. They called the hotel and Ian didn’t check out yesterday morning, his things were still in the room. So he never flew home. They can’t file a missing person’s report until the morning because there was nobody at the police desk to take information tonight. We are worried sick, and my dad has called every hospital in the area.

Have you been in contact with him at all or do you know anything about his plans for this trip?

I gotta say when I first read that email, I wasn’t 100% convinced that it was real and not a scam. I half expected for the next email to be “oh he’s in trouble, send Apple gift cards to help him out” 🙂

But I responded, though I didn’t really have a lot to say, since I didn’t really know anything about Ian’s plans. I was able to point her to some of his Twitter posts that showed some of the hikes he had taken.

How Ian Was Rescued

As it turned out, those Twitter posts ended up making a big difference – Sara and Ian’s parents are not on Twitter, so they hadn’t seen those posts, which showed the hike that he had taken.

With that as information, Sara started reaching out to Oahu hiking Facebook groups, who quickly were able to pinpoint approximately where he was. The police also got involved, tracking him based on the last known location of his phone. A rescue helicopter was sent out which was able to find Ian about 1,000 feet below the trail, 3 days after he had initially fallen. Truly a miracle that he was found and I’m glad for whatever small part I was able to play – the only reason Ian’s sister even reached out to me initially is because I had recently edited a story over at AwardWallet that Ian had originally written that was re-published the day before, so it looked like I had been in recent contact with him.

a close up of a sign

The story has since been picked up by several news outlets, including the Hawaiian News Now (with video from Ian’s press conference after he got out of the hospital), CNN, KITV and USA Today.

A GoFundMe

Ian’s sister has set up a GoFundMe to help defray some of the costs, including

  • Out-of-pocket medical costs (thankfully this ended up being fairly minimal)
  • Time off from work for Ian and his parents due to the accident
  • Travel costs from my parents making an unexpected trip to Hawaii to go help and bring him home.
Any excess beyond $4,000 will go to Hawaii first responders and the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii (VASH) organization.

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