Chicago-area nurse missing after flash flood in Hawaii

- It's been nearly a week since a Chicago-area nurse went missing while out on a hike in Hawaii.

She was hiking with a friend when heavy rain upstream caused a flash flood event and the pair were both swept away in the Wailuku River.  The man escaped and called for help. 

“I'm familiar with how quickly things can change. A very big river with a lot of water and can get dangerous very quickly,”  said Chief Matthias Kusch from the Hawaii County Fire Department.

Crews have since been conducting aerial and ground searches for the missing woman and on Thursday added underwater searches. 

The missing woman’s family has asked that we not name her and respect their privacy. 

She is in her mid-20's and is a traveling nurse from the northwest suburbs. 

A spokesperson said the woman graduated from Schaumburg High School in 2007. Her social media pages show she attended the University of Illinois, St. Xavier University for nursing and worked for Northwestern Medicine. 

An Aya Healthcare spokesperson said the woman is currently working at Hilo Medical Center in Hawaii. 

That facility released this statement saying in part, “Our hopes and thoughts are with the family for the best possible outcome. This excellent nurse was well received by her colleagues."

 A colleague said she was a ray of sunshine to work with: "She is always upbeat and has an infectious laugh and positive outlook on life. Nothing gets her down and I admire her outgoing spirit. She has the heart of a true traveler and a real zest for life."
Hawaii County Fire Captain Brent Matsuda said the search is not over. 

“[The search] was supposed to end yesterday, we usually do, protocol is five days of search but the mom requested to the chief to extend it and it will be extended at least until tomorrow if we don't find her sooner,” Matsuda said.

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