Search fails to find hiker's missing dog


POSTED: Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What was supposed to be a four-hour hike for Punchbowl resident William Connor and his dog turned into an extensive search for the missing animal along steep Koolau Mountain ridges Sunday and yesterday.

After about 90 minutes early yesterday morning, fire crews gave up the search for Brando, a 4-year-old Weimaraner.

“;I really was not prepared for this,”; said Connor, 30, after an initial search ended Sunday night. “;I didn't foresee any of this happening.”;

Connor said he and Brando started on the hike on the Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail above Waialae Iki at 2:30 p.m. Sunday and reached the summit about two hours later.

On the way down, Connor said, after he finished rappelling down a second set of ropes, the dog, unleashed, ran down the trail and disappeared.

“;He's usually very good,”; said Connor, who has taken Brando on several hiking trails and kayaking trips.

Connor said that he spent about two hours looking for the dog before calling for help about 6:40 p.m.

A Fire Department rescue team, including five specialists flown in by helicopter, arrived shortly.

“;It was unexpected to see the amount of people—that many people come out to help me look for my dog,”; Connor said. “;I was floored.”;

The search was called off as darkness fell, but rescue personnel heard the dog barking and estimated its location, about 300 feet down the Ewa side of the ridge.

The search resumed around 6:15 a.m. yesterday, but there was no sign of nor sound from Brando.

“;Of course, I'm worried for my dog,”; Connor said, “;but I don't think he's going to die of hunger, and from the noise he was making, I don't think he's hurt.”;

Connor said that he is “;very grateful and appreciative… for the work that everyone put in to help me find my dog.”;

Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Terry Seelig said that although circumstances in this case was usual, rescues such as these are common.

“;It's a standard response that we have for someone in the mountains,”; Seelig said. “;If they're in distress… we want to make certain that nothing worse may happen, where the person tries to resue the dog themselves.”;