VIDEO: Hiker Still Missing; Family Requests HelpSeptember 2, 2019, 2:44 PM HST (Updated September 3, 2019, 12:59 PM)
It’s been three days and Kyle Brittain has yet to be found.
Brittain, 27, was last seen early Friday morning, Aug. 30, 2019, at the Waipio Valley Lookout. He asked for directions to the nearest restroom and hasn’t been heard from since.
His father, attorney Steve Brittain of Hilo, spoke to Big Island Now Monday. He said his son is an experienced hiker. Brittain added he last spoke to his son on Thursday night.
Brittain told his father he was headed to Waipio Valley on Friday for a day hike, adding he may go up the Z Trail. The Z trail is the trail that leads to the Waimanu Valley. The Waimanu trail is maintained by the State of Hawai‘i and is hiked frequently.
VIDEO: Steve Brittain, father of missing hiker Kyle, asks for volunteer help. Call (808) 990-7716.
First responders were on scene Sunday and again Monday. They have completed a thorough check of the main trail systems by foot and air.
Steve Brittain said Monday police and fire rescue had committed to two more days of search. After that, the search will be a community-led effort.
“We’re going to need 100, 200 people to start combing the hillsides,” Brittain said. “Any help you can give. … We love the support and help we’ve got so far, but we need a lot more. Thank you so much for everything so far.”
Brittain’s family is requesting the assistance of experienced civilian hikers from the community to be part of an organized search. Due to the remote location and difficult terrain, they are seeking experienced rappellers and hikers who are comfortable off-trail in dense tropical rainforest conditions.
Those interested in helping should remember the following about searching in the valley:
- No cellular service is available.
- It is not suitable for hikers under the age of 18.
- No dogs are allowed, as this can interfere with the search and K9 rescue teams.
- Be prepared for inclement weather and challenging terrain.
- Bring water, food, hiking and safety supplies.
Starting Tuesday, Sept. 3, volunteer rescue hikers may check-in with Chris Berquist at the Waipio Valley Lookout parking lot at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. Volunteers will be split into search groups at these times.
Berquist will be organizing the community search teams. He was instrumental in the successful search and rescue of missing Maui hiker Amanda Eller in May of 2019.
If you were in the area or have seen Brittain recently, contact the Hawai‘i County Police Department at (808)-935-3311. Those who wish to volunteer for the search may contact Chris Brittain at (808) 990-7716.
Big Island Now will update this story as more information becomes available.
BIN reporter Max Dible contributed to this report.