Teen hiker missing after texting photos at ‘Stairway to Heaven’

Fire rescuers have suspended their search Sunday afternoon for a missing teenager from Hawaii Island and plan to resume efforts Monday morning, weather permitting.

According to the Honolulu Fire Department, their search wrapped up at 4:44 p.m.

So far, there’s still no sign of him.

The father of 18-year-old Daylenn “Moke” Pua, Donald Pua Jr., was at the staging area in Kaneohe on Sunday. He said his son is a senior at Ke Kula ‘O Ehunuikaimalino, a Hawaiian immersion school in Kealakekua.

He said Daylenn traveled to Oahu for a field trip and was staying with his grandmother in Waianae for the weekend. That’s where he was last seen boarding a bus Friday morning.

The last time he was heard from was a few hours later around 11 a.m. when he texted photos of himself at Haiku Stairs, also known as Stairway to Heaven, an area closed to hikers.

His grandmother Martha Bear said he was interested in hiking that trail, “and I told my grandson that it’s closed down. They’re not letting anybody climb that mountain. It was on the news and I told him that.”

On Saturday, Honolulu firefighters were called in to help.

HFD captain Paul Bass said “first crews were here maybe a little after 6:30 or 7 (a.m.) But the weather was much poorer then. It was actually raining cats and dogs, so they couldn’t do much. We waited ’til about maybe 8:30, re-grouped, took the next crew and we’ve been searching since then.

“The whole ridge of the stairs is on we’ve kind of ruled out, but there is the summit trail that runs the length of the Ko’olau mountain.”

Pua’s father said his son is an experienced hiker and has never gone missing before. “I’m doing strong, thinking he stay up there and he’s alright, hoping they can find him before anything else happen,” he said.

Pua is 5’7″ and weighs 150 pounds.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.

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