Visitor Succumbs to Fatal Heart Attack Along High Elevation Trail

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Date: December 18, 2006
Contact: G. Dominic Cardea, 808 572-4450

On Sunday, December 17 at 4:23 P.M., National Park Service Pacific Islands Dispatch Center received a call from Maui County 911. A visitor reported that a man was having a heart attack half mile down Sliding Sands Trail and that CPR was being performed.

Sliding Sands Trail is located at the summit of Haleakala and stretches between 10,000 feet and 7,500 feet elevation. The trailhead is located in designated wilderness and is approximately 30 minutes from headquarters.

Rangers responded to the scene and found 51 year old Paul Ezatoff unresponsive and without pulse or respiration.

His hiking companion described walking up Sliding Sands trail from a day hike when Ezatoff collapsed after complaining of fatigue. CPR was started immediately and help was solicited from other hikers. Another visitor identified as an emergency room nurse arrived almost immediately to assist in compressions and resuscitation. After approximately 20 minutes of strenuous efforts with no pulse, or respiration the two discontinued CPR.

Rangers and Maui County Emergency Helicopter arrived shortly after the CPR was discontinued. The coroner’s office transported Ezatoff to Maui Memorial. He was pronounced dead at 8:30 P.M.

Haleakala National Park offers its condolences to the Ezatoff Family.

Visitors are reminded that the summit area of the park is a high altitude environment with low oxygen levels. Visitors with preexisting heart or respiratory conditions are cautioned to possibly avoid the summit. When visiting the summit area everyone should drink extra water, wear protective clothing and sunscreen, and walk slowly to avoid the effects of altitude. If acute altitude sickness or other discomforts occur, decrease altitude immediately until they subside. If symptoms do not decrease, seek medical attention right away.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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