Day 13: ‘Today We Will Find Kyle & Bring Him Home’

September 12, 2019, 9:33 AM HST (Updated September 12, 2019, 10:36 AM)
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VIDEO: Steve Brittain talks about the search for his son, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. VC: Darde Gamayo

Kyle Brittain was last seen near the Waipi‘o Valley Lookout area on the morning of Friday, Aug. 30, 2019.

Day 13, Thursday, Sept. 12: A typical day is once again unfolding for Hilo resident Steve Brittain, the father of missing hike Kyle. He was up at dawn, spending the first hour or so on social media and conducting interviews.

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By 7:30 a.m., the search base camp at the Waipi‘o Overlook was reassembled. Searchers, family and volunteers began to arrive for the 8 a.m. organizational meeting, Brittain said on the Find Kyle Brittain Facebook page early this morning.

Search Tech Advisory Team (STAT) leader Chris Berquist spent the night figuring out where to send the volunteers. Search teams left at 9 a.m. and will return at 5 p.m.

Once they’re all back safe, debriefed and fed, base camp will be disassembled and packed up.

Searchers will go to their respective accommodations try to get some sleep and prepare to do it all over again.

Amid the hardcore search activities exists a tapestry of laughter, tears and hope.

“Family, friends and the community are working their hearts out,” Brittain wrote. “Total strangers are doing whatever they can—searching, bringing food, hugs and tears. All are appreciated and needed.”

Kyle Brittain. Courtesy photo

Brittain said there is only one road to enter and leave the valley.

“We see and speak to most of the residents,” said Brittain. “They are looking for Kyle as well. Once again, there are amazing and gracious people who treat us like family. Their love is incredible and their strength helps us to keep doing this day after day with the hope that today is the last day.”

“It’s lucky day 13—today we are going to find Kyle and bring him home,” Steve wrote.

The weather today looks better than it was yesterday, when helicopter drop-offs at the top of the Z-trail were called off because of fog. Instead, volunteers started from the bottom of the Z Trail and worked their way up.

Day 12 was foggy and rainy, which impeded the search for Kyle Brittain. PC Find Kyle Brittain Facebook page with permission from Steve Brittain

“It’s difficult to not be discouraged when we arrived at the lookout and see this [fog],” Kyle’s mother, Melinda Gaborno, wrote yesterday.

But today is clear, so helicopters will conduct additional search efforts up on the ridges. Ground crews will be out searching trail offshoots and some areas in the valley that have yet to been searched.

“We have an area of nearly 100-square.miles and as you have seen from the video footage and photographs from the search and rescue efforts, the terrain is severe,” Brittain wrote.

The community-based search-and-rescue effort is dependent upon volunteers from the community for assistance. The search team is still in need of  search-and-rescue dogs on this island, rappel experts and anybody with search-and-rescue experience.

Volunteer hiker check-in times are 8 and 9 a.m. daily. Arrive  at least 10 mins early and plan on hiking a full day.

Supplies still needed include:

  • Gatorade
  • Plates
  • Plastic eating utensils
  • Carbs and protein, such as pasta, tacos, rice, musubi
  • The team currently has enough sweets and granola bars.

“Without help from the community, there is no search and rescue effort,” said Brittain.

“I am keeping hope alive by extracting it from those around me,” said Brittain. “I’m surrounded by people who truly love my family and truly want to help.”

More information is available on the Find Kyle Brittain Facebook page.

If you have any information about the location of Kyle, notify the Hawai‘i Police Department at (808) 935-3311.

Debra Lordan
Debra Lordan has been a writer and website editor for Pacific Media Group since 2014. She has 39-plus years of experience in the publishing industry, serving in a variety of positions—from photographer, graphic designer and communications director to writer, editor and general manager—at scientific research centers, in book publishing, at a weekly newspaper and various magazines. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado.
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