This happened while I was in Hawaii on my honeymoon and I did not see it on the forum. This is a reminder that even in Hawaii you must be prepared for any hike.
Search For Missing Michigan Hiker In Hawaii
December 9, 2007 - 9:19AM
MAUNA KEA, Hawaii (AP) - A 67-year-old suburban Detroit man has been missing since Wednesday after heading out to hike a Mauna Kea trail.
Brian Murphy of Plymouth, Mich., told his traveling companion he was going to the snowy volcanic mountain.
He later signed in at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station, which is at 9,200 feet, about noon Wednesday and spoke to an employee about going about a mile up the Humuula Trail. The old footpath climbs about 3,800 feet up the mountain, up to Lake Waiau
at 13,020 feet.
Two hours later, a cold front hit the Big Island, dropping about a foot of snow on the summit. The storm created a blizzard with winds of up to 70 miles per hour.
STORY SUMMARY »
Two miles high, rescue teams will search again today for a Michigan man last seen on Mauna Kea just before a blizzard hit.
About 50 rescue personnel searched for the hiker yesterday on foot and with all-terrain vehicles between 8,000 to 13,400 feet in altitude.
A federal helicopter and Hawaii County Fire Department helicopter checked difficult-to-reach places, but turned back after fog cut visibility. Temperatures on the mountain were about 55 degrees yesterday afternoon.
Dog teams also took part in the search over the weekend.
Missing since Wednesday on a planned hike along a trail to the summit is Brian Murphy, 67, of Detroit.
Big Island rescue teams will search again today for a missing Michigan man who went hiking on Mauna Kea just before a snowstorm five days ago and hasn't been seen since.
Rescuers have yet to find any clothing, tracks, or other signs of the man. Police canine teams aided in the search Saturday, but didn't pick up any clues, firefighters said.
The Associated Press identified the man as Brian Murphy, 67, of Detroit. Murphy, a father of two and grandfather of five, was declared missing at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
"He's definitely lost," said Hawaii Fire Department incident commander Capt. Grant Kojima. "We're not sure if he's still able to walk and the weather at night gets to freezing temperatures."
During the fourth day of the search yesterday, 52 personnel assisted, including personnel from several state agencies, the Mauna Kea ranger force, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Pohakuloa Training Area. About five miles have been searched on foot from the 8,000-foot elevation to 13,400 feet. About 30 square miles have been scanned by air from 6,300 to 11,000 feet, Kojima said.
Rescuers used all-terrain vehicles, two helicopters and several other vehicles. In the morning, skies were clear with light winds and temperatures in the 60s. By afternoon, the temperature dropped to the low 50s, while fog reduced visibility to a half-mile. The helicopter crews stopped searching and the search was suspended at about 3:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, Murphy had spoken to a visitor center employee about hiking up the Humuula Trail, a steep footpath that leads toward the 13,796-foot summit.
A ranger, who was the last person to see Murphy, said Murphy was wearing only a light shirt and slacks -- "street clothes," as Kojima put it.
"He may have had more clothes in his vehicle, but we don't think it was cold-weather gear," he added.
The ranger advised Murphy, who was alone, not to go hiking because of the terrain and the cold weather, Kojima said. Murphy left about noon, leaving his car at the Onizuka Center for visitors at the 9,000-foot level.
"He wanted to hike up towards the summit," Kojima said.
On Wednesday night, the National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for Mauna Kea's summit. Winds were expected to reach 70 mph. The winds created snowdrifts 10 feet deep and 100 feet long, said National Weather forecaster Tom Birchard.
Rescuers, who believe Murphy might have been injured during a fall, will conclude the search today if no signs of him are found, Kojima said.
"We know where he was last seen and because of the terrain and the weather we don't believe he was able to move very far," Kojima said. "It's more of an intense search rather than a large search."
Police towed Murphy's vehicle and are investigating it. Rescuers don't believe Murphy has left the slopes of the dormant volcano.
A visitor center manager said Mauna Kea Access Road was closed from the visitor center yesterday because of the icy conditions and the search operation.
The search will concentrate today on areas south and west of Mauna Kea Access Road, below the visitor center.
Murphy Family Searches Mauna Kea One Last Time for Missing Hiker
Sisters-in-law, Sarah O'Hare and Bridget Wallman traveled from Michigan to Hawaii on the day after Christmas to make one final attempt to find their father. Brian Murphy, a 67-year-old retiree from Detroit went hiking on December 5 and never returned. While he was out, a blizzard settled in on the summit of Mauna Kea, where Murphy was walking. He never returned. His car, with his wallet inside was found in the parking area. An official search was conducted for six days, but no trace of the hiker was found.
O'Hare reported that the duo was realistic, saying, "I think you have to protect your heart -- you're going to go home alone."
Nevertheless, about 25 volunteers, and firefighters joined the renewed search with the sisters. They checked tree to tree and under bushes. They looked in crevices where Murphy might have tried to find shelter from the weather. With new information from the family members concerning how Murphy might have reacted, and what his abilities would have allowed, three additional days of searching were conducted.
After finding no signs of Murphy a second time, firefighters terminated the search yesterday.
The sisters are headed home with some sense of closure. They thanked everyone who helped in the search. "We feel they put in extraordinary effort. We're enormously grateful," O'Hare said.