Body found, believed to be that of missing trail runner

Are Hjorunges
Are Hjorunges
Honolulu Fire Capt. Earle Kealoha
Honolulu Fire Capt. Earle Kealoha

MOKULEIA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Rescue crews recovered a body on Saturday believed to be that of a missing professor from Norway. The Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club began searching for Are Hjorungnes, 40, on Wednesday after the Honolulu Fire Department ended its effort. 23 volunteers headed out and ended up finding the body just before 12:30 p.m. in the hillside above Dillingham Airfield.

"They could see trees cracked so that was one tip off that there's something wrong here," said Fred Boll, a member of the club.

"It's a very sheer drop looks from what looks like any kind of a normal trail that was there," said Capt. Earle Kealoha of the Honolulu Fire Department.

Kealoha said the body was found at the bottom of a dry waterfall in an area that had been previously scanned by HFD's helicopter.

"A large area was combed over in the last week over a three-day period. Unfortunately, I think because of the heavy, heavy growth at the bottom, we were unable to locate the missing hiker until today," said Kealoha.

Hjorungnes was a mathematics professor. He had been on Oahu for nearly a year doing research with the electrical engineering department at the University of Hawaii. A week ago, the visiting professor was trail running with about half a dozen members of the Hawaiian Ultra Running Team (H.U.R.T.) when he became separated from the group. They had been on the Kealia Trail, but fire officials said the body was not found in that area. Boll said it was located  about 50 yards below a Dillingham Ranch Road.

"These H.U.R.T. guys, they're enormously strong and they're willing to take risks and go places probably other people wouldn't want to go," said Boll.

The Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club made sure its volunteers had knowledge of the area and the endurance for the search.

"We screened them as far as their ability to hike an elevation gain of over 2,000 feet and still keep going all day nonstop," explained Boll.

Hjorungnes' mother, father, and sister arrived on Oahu two days ago. They're receiving assistance from the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii.

"Obviously, we're always optimistic we can find them before they're gone, but like I said, we looked for many days," said Boll.

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