A family have told of their heartache as they wait to learn the fate of their great-grandfather, who is feared dead following deadly wildfires.
In his 80s, Alfie Rawlings was living in an assisted living complex in Hawaii when the deadliest wildfires in US history tore across the idyllic island.
Daughter Shirly McPherson told 7 News that her father’s unit was one of the first to go up in flames; tragically, he had not been heard from since.
“What keeps me up at night is the fact that he was by himself and he was stuck in his wheelchair and he couldn’t get out,” Ms McPherson said.
“There’s nothing left of the apartment complex. It’s completely flattened, it’s just turned to ash, so I presume that he’s died.”
Ms McPherson said not knowing had driven her “insane”, as she struggled for five days to ask anyone to help her find her father or his body
She has launched a desperate appeal on social media for anyone to help find her father.
“We are frantic to find out information,” Ms McPherson wrote in one post.
“If anyone knows his whereabouts, could you please let me know. I’m in Australia, so it’s hard being so far away.”
The Adelaide woman said the images of searching the ruins had been a heartbreaking sight as she feared strangers would walk over her father’s body.
“You’re walking all over all the stuff,” she said.
“You think, ‘That could be my dad you’re stepping over’.”
She hopes that her father took shelter with others, with a months-long wait ahead of determining whether he is a match for any remains found.
Cadaver dogs have been brought in to search for the bodies of victims and Ms McPherson will have to provide a DNA sample to determine if any of those are her father.
Almost 100 people have died in the wildfires and firefighters are still battling flare-ups on the island.