Search resumes for missing Big Island man near Haiku Stairs

Search for missing Big Island man near Haiku Stairs suspended due to weather

KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Crews from the Honolulu Fire Department have resumed their search for a Big Island man near the Haiku Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven.

CrimeStoppers and the Honolulu Police Department are seeking the public's assistance in locating 18-year-old Daylen Pua, who is visiting from the Big Island.

Police say Pua was last seen boarding a bus in Waianae at approximately 6 a.m. Friday. He told his family that he was heading to the Haiku Stairs. He texted pictures of himself in the area at approximately 11 a.m. Friday and had not been seen or heard from since.

"He mainly just loves being outdoors," said his sister, Dizhonette Phipps, via phone from Alaska. "Loves seeing what the island has to provide, all its wonderful sights. He's an adventure thriller."

Fire crews responded to the scene Saturday morning to search the area, but the search was hampered by heavy rain in the morning, and then by cloud cover. The fire department suspended the search at about 3 p.m. Saturday, but fire Capt. Paul Bass said, "The whole ridge that the stairs is on, we've ruled out. but there is the summit trail that runs the length of the Koolau Mountain."

The search resumed at 8:30 a.m. Sunday as conditions improved.

The Haiku Stairs have been closed since 1987, but hikers have still managed to get past guards and gates. Pua's sister said her family has heard criticism on social media, "That he's done the hike when he's not supposed to, and don't see that there's family members out there that he's missing and is only wanting the best for him."

The stairs were damaged two weeks ago by a landslide that happened in heavy rain and wind. This past Monday, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, which owns the stairs, began the planning process to demolish them.

Pua is described as 5' 7", weighs 150 lbs. with black hair and brown eyes.

"I just don't know what to do but pray, 'please be okay,'" said Phipps.

Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300. The Honolulu Fire Department plans to resume the search Sunday morning, weather permitting.

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