Still no sign of missing hiker on Big Island as day four comes to an end


It’s been four days since Kyle Brittain was last seen on the Big Island. The 27-year-old left to go hiking in Waipio Valley on August 30 and has been missing since. Search efforts continued by both land and air Tuesday. Though there has been so sign of him so far, his family is not giving up hope.

Kyle Brittain has been missing since Friday. Four days into the search his mother, Melinda Gaborno, said she is focusing on staying positive

“As each search day comes to an end, a little bit of hope just kind of shaves off the top. And it’s been difficult. But I have confidence in my son’s ability to survive,” said Gaborno holding back tears.

She said that she was the last person to speak to her son before he left to hike the zigzag trail leading from Waipio Valley to Waimanu Valley. She said he’s an avid hiker but usually hikes with his father and brothers.

“This is the first time Kyle has ever hiked a trail by himself. Despite warnings by his family, dad and I and his brothers he was compelled to go, but we were reassured that he would come back Friday night,” Gaborno said.

Except for Brittain’s car, which was found parked near the Waipio Valley lookout, rescue efforts have been unsuccessful.

Hawaii County assistant fire chief Darwin Okinaka said there has been no sign of him in the valley.

“The people that we have interviewed over the weekend that have been down there have not seen him at all.”

Okinaka said county rescue teams are searching by land and by air.

“We are using our rescue helicopter rescue daily with our search efforts. (helicopter crews) mainly do the shoreline daily just to double check make sure things are clear on that side. We can get to areas a lot quicker that way,” Okinaka explained.

Okinaka described the trail Brittain was supposed to hike as heavily traveled and it’s unlikely Brittain would have lost his way.

“The trail is clearly identified. There are trails that lead off of that trail that hunters use, so you may see some out-branches of the main trail. But because the trail is so heavily used so many people it’s very easily identified. He shouldn’t have gone off the trail unless he wanted to go off the trail. It’s that clearly identified.”

Two K9s were also taken to Big Island.

“We did utilize them yesterday along the Waimanu trail, the trail that leads to Waimanu Valley, with negative findings also,” said Okinaka.

Chris Burquist, one of the men who helped find the female hiker Amanda Eller after she was missing for more than two weeks on Maui, is now involved with the search for Brittain.

“(Burquist) has been in close contact with our incident commander down there at scene and they’re coordinated efforts to search together. That we way we don’t have any duplicated effort while searching and we have accountability for everybody that’s down there assisting with the search,’ Okinaka explained.

There were more than 20 people with their boots on the ground searching for Brittain Tuesday.

Hawaii County Police are also there investigating. Lt. Roy Valera said this case is still considereda missing hiker case because Brittain was an avid hiker and there are currently no signs of foul play.

Hawaii County will continue with the search efforts through Wednesday.

“Today is day four, we’ll go until tomorrow afternoon as our normal protocols…our normal protocol for Hawaii fire department for land efforts is five days,” Okinaka said.

Brittain’s family has set up a Go Fund me page to help raise money to offset the cost of the search efforts in case he is not found by Wednesday.

“If anybody is out there that is physically capable and has the heart to come out and get their boots on the ground and help look for Kyle I would just be immensely grateful,” Gaborno said.

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