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Family seeks help in finding missing hiker on Big Island

  • COURTESY PHOTO

    Kyle Brittain

Family members of 27-year-old Kyle Brittain of Kaimuki are asking for the public’s help in locating him.

He was last seen near the Waipio Valley lookout on Hawaii island Friday.

“We know he’s out there,” said Steve Brittain of Hilo.

Kyle Brittain of Kaimuki planned to go on a day hike at the “Z-Trail” in the valley on Aug. 30. He took his cellphone, energy bars and water bottles.

Though he is an avid hiker, this is the first time he went hiking alone, said his mother, Melinda Gaborno, of Kaimuki. “He went against everybody’s warnings.”

Gaborno last spoke to her son shortly after 5 a.m. Friday. He assured her he would end his hike before dusk.

Brittain was in Hilo house-sitting for his father who was on his honeymoon on the mainland.

His father returned to Hilo from his honeymoon Friday night.

He and Brittain’s mother reported him missing to police after they didn’t hear from him.

Police spotted Brittain’s father’s truck parked at the lookout in Waipio Valley. Attempts to track his cell phone were unsuccessful.

Firefighters launched a search with a rescue helicopter and scoured the grounds.

Search dogs are also being used.

Because the fire department typically suspends searches after five days, a GoFundMe account has been created to help raise funds for expenses to assist in search expenses including private helicopter costs.

Chris Berquist who was part of the search team that successfully found hiker Amanda Eller alive in Maui in May after she went missing for more than two weeks, arrived in Hilo Monday to help coordinate the search for Brittain.

So far, more than 100 volunteers have assisted in the search, said Brittain’s father. “The community, police, fire are incredible. We have so much gratitude for everybody.”

Brittain recently completed the massage therapy program at Kapiolani Community College and plans to take the state exam for his license this month. “He’s a natural born healer,” said his father.

Brittain is 5 feet, 10 inches, 155 pounds with a slim build.

Anyone who has information on his whereabouts is urged to call the Honokaa police station at 808-775-7533 or police department at 808-935-3311.

To make a donation to support search expenses, visit: https://808ne.ws/kylebrittain.

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