Sunday, April 13, 2003

Father, daughter assumed dead

The Associated Press

KIPAHULU, Hawaii - The search for a Kentucky man and his 8-year-old daughter swept away by a flash flood continued Friday, but officials on Maui said the two were assumed dead after plunging down the 184-foot-high Makahiku Falls.

About 20 members of the National Park Service, Maui Fire Department and Maui Police Department conducted searches by foot and air, but they did not find any sign of Kevin Brown, 39, a high school chemistry teacher, or his daughter, Elizabeth.

They were part of a family group from Louisville that included grandparents and Brown's wife, obstetrician-gynecologist Holly Brown, and 11-year-old son, Clayton, authorities said.

The couple and their children were hiking off-trail above the falls at Haleakala National Park on Thursday after 4:30 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time when tragedy struck.

According to the National Park Service, Elizabeth fell while crossing Oheo Stream and as her father tried to help her up, a 6-foot-high wall of water washed them away.

Holly Brown and Clayton Brown said they saw the two swept over the waterfall.

Officials continued to search the area, but with water levels high and the stream full of mud and debris, they say it was difficult.

Sharon Ringsven, a spokeswoman for the Haleakala National Park, said no one has ever survived a fall over the Makahiku Falls.

The Browns were vacationing in Hawaii during spring break when the accident occurred, said James A. Sexton, principal at Louisville's Eastern High School, where Kevin Brown teaches.

The family had been scheduled to return to Louisville on Saturday, Ringsven said.

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