Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Search teams continue hunt
for lost hiker

By Rosemarie Bernardo

A team of police, firefighters and officials from the state Department of Land & Natural Resources resumed its search this morning in Nuuanu for a 78-year-old hiker last seen Sunday afternoon.

78-year-old George Morishima was last seen Sunday.

Family members of George Morishima also have been conducting their own search along Judd Trail and Pauoa Flats.

Morishima left his Aiea home at about 2 p.m. Sunday. After he failed to return, his son Greg drove to Nuuanu at about 6:30 p.m. and spotted his gold Oldsmobile car parked at the Jackass Ginger Pool, at 4161 Nuuanu Pali Drive. Greg's twin brother, Gary, said their father has frequented Judd Trail and the Pauoa Flats area for 20 years to gather bamboo shoots, pepeau (tree fungus) and bamboo leaves. It is a Japanese tradition to place bamboo leaves at the front door to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits for the new year.

Greg searched for his father Sunday night and was joined by several family members.

More than 20 officials from the Honolulu Police Department, Honolulu Fire Department and DLNR began a search at 7 a.m. yesterday that extended about a mile and a half from the ginger pool. Four dogs and six officials from the Missing Persons Detail were also involved, along with a fire and police helicopter.


Honolulu Battalion Fire Chief Paul Gerard said firefighters were flown over Pauoa Flats and lowered to various areas of the ridge. The search team also canvassed Judd and Nuuanu trails and both sides of Nuuanu Pali Drive.

Gerard said two hikers said that they had run into Morishima at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday and that he had taken a shortcut off Judd Trail to his car.

Morishima's children said their father had experienced a mild stroke and believed it may have contributed to a short-term memory loss that they had noticed in the past year.

Mabel Kekina, chairwoman of the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club's trail maintenance, said she plans to bring a team of hikers today to help search for Morishima.

"I'm just hoping he didn't fall off the ridge," Kekina said.

Gary described his father as an athletic person who plays softball and baseball.

Morishima, a retired carpenter, is described as 5 feet 6, 145 pounds, with gray hair and brown eyes. Police said he was wearing gray shorts with a white belt, a blue T-shirt, a blue baseball cap and tennis shoes.

Anyone with information on Morishima is asked to call Detective Phil Camero, of the Honolulu Police Department's Missing Persons Detail, at 529-3394 or CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.

Honolulu Police Department

E-mail to City Desk


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