East Hawaii News

Navy Part of Search for Missing Big Island Hiker

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An 18-year-old Big Island hiker who went missing while hiking along Oahu’s Haʻikū Stairs Friday, Feb. 27 was searched for by the United States Navy Wednesday.

Daylenn “Moke” Pua was identified as the hiker after his family reported him missing Friday to the Honolulu Police Department. The Honolulu Fire Department was notified by HPD late Friday night and began their search at day-break Saturday morning.

The Federal Aviation Administration requested that the Navy provide support in the form of an overland search for the missing teen.

Military personnel conducted their search Wednesday morning with the “Easyriders” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37. The helicopter was equipped with multispectral targeting systems capabilities.

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Officials say the area of interest was the ridgeline above the Haʻikū stairs.

HFD Captain David Jenkins told Big Island Now Thursday afternoon that the ridgeline area became a location of interest after hikers reportedly heard calls for help on Monday.

“A pair of hikers who were nurses from the mainland were hiking, not part of any search party, were up there on their own. They heard someone calling for help at a specific spot,” Capt. Jenkins said. “That information came late in the day on the third day of search and we went up there that third day in the late afternoon and did a search but we found nothing. However, the incident commander determined they were credible witnesses.”

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Upon learning of the new information, HFD continued its search for an extra day into Tuesday. No sign of Pua emerged from the efforts.

“Pending any new information we are suspending our search operations,” Capt. Jenkins said.

According to Capt. Jenkins, HFD is in close contact with Pua’s family, who is organizing volunteer searches, as well as with the Honolulu Police Department, who is conducting the missing persons case. Should additional information be reported, Capt. Jenkins says the HFD will participate in the search once again.

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