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Family of Maryland man who fell 40 feet to his death urge safety measures at trail

<i>KITV</i><br/>The family of Samuel Richardson
Arif, Merieme
The family of Samuel Richardson

By Kristen Consillio

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    HONOLULU (KITV) — Less than 24 hours after arriving on Oahu for her 30th birthday, Samantha Richardson lost the man she loved the most.

“He was my heart, my everything, my purpose,” she said.

She and her father Samuel were inseparable and wanted to experience the beauty of Hawaii together for the very first time.

“This is so unreal because he came to do it for me and with me and we got to the first pillbox and we embraced,” she said. “We stood there looking out at the view of the ocean and we were just in awe of God’s glory.”

Shortly after, Richardson fell 40 feet off the Lanikai Pillbox trail to his death.

“It is heartbreaking,” said his widow, Arlene. “And we have to now go home and he’s not there. So the pain and the grief continues.”

The family’s now urging the state to make the trail safer for hikers so that tragedies like this never happen again.

“There was an area where he was standing and the rock was loose. She could hear it and saw it tumble down behind him,” Arlene added. “They have to have known that people were having incidents of falling. It’s just too bad they didn’t do anything about it.”

The state says it’s planning to spend $900,000 to address erosion and safety issues, including signage for hikers to reduce the number of rescues and injuries on the trail.

Despite the tragedy, the family says they’re grateful for the aloha of the people here — including the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, that is helping them get Richardson back home.

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