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CNN BREAKING NEWS
No Tsunami Expected in Hawaii Per US Geological Survey
Aired October 15, 2006 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, I'm Carol Lin at the CNN Center in Atlanta. You're watching our Hawaii affiliate KITV. We're the only American broadcast company that is transmitting live, real- time information from the earthquake zone in Hawaii.
In case you're just tuning in, there was a magnitude 6.6 quake according to the U.S. Geological Service that happened at about 7:07 this morning, local time in Hawaii. The epicenter is centered on the northwest side of the big island of Hawaii. Already wide reports of power outages. In fact, airplanes can only land at the Honolulu International Airport. There are no planes taking off because there simply is not enough power to run that airport at full speed.
There are two hospitals that are reporting several injuries, mostly lacerations and broken bones. We are getting new video in of collapsed homes. Despite the damage that you're seeing right now, we're understanding that there were no injuries inside the structures right now.
And of course, one of the big concerns, when you have an earthquake of this magnitude out in the Pacific Ocean, the possibility of a tsunami. So let's check in with CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano with more on that. Rob, what is the danger here?
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well Carol, out of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, there's no threat for a tsunami. And they do that -- they base that on historical data. And historically, Hawaii rarely generates tsunamis that hit Hawaii. Hawaii has been hit by plenty of tsunamis in their history, but most have been generated elsewhere.
For instance, some of the larger -- one of the larger tsunamis happened from an earthquake that originated in the Aleutian Islands and another one that happened back over in Chile, and those earthquakes moved the water and propagated waves towards the Hawaiian islands.
But with the type of fault zone that is underneath Hawaii, it is rare to see a local generated tsunami. So that's part of the historical data that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center goes by.
And then of course they go by raw data. They actually have buoys lining the Pacific Ocean to determine if there has been any significant sea level rise.
Here is the radar, to talk about radar as well. We have seen some rock slide and some landslides obviously because the earth has been moving due to the earthquake. What's not happening the situation, at least off the big island, it is raining in Honolulu and Oahu. And that rain, as you can see on the radar, is moving towards Maui.
All of the island, with the exception of the big island, are under a flood watch through tomorrow because heavy rains are expected to move across this area. Now with the heavy rains and moving across the area, and then also the threat for aftershocks, there's certainly some concern.
Just an interesting thing to show you, this is our flight tracker, explorer actually shows airplanes and flights, both commercial and general aviation, going in and out of the major airports. Honolulu and Maui, of course, and there's not a whole lot of action going towards the big island. Generally speaking, most of the traffic does go to Honolulu and also towards Maui.
Since we last spoke, Carol, there have been two additional aftershocks. The last one about 20 minutes ago, 21:45 GMT. But both of those were at magnitude 2.7. So insignificant as far as what kind of damage they can do and likely were not able to be felt. Total now is getting close to two dozen aftershocks.
And an aftershock is determined only by its -- defined by a smaller earthquake that happens after the big earthquake. And the big earthquake was a 6.6. The aftershock we had right after that, literally minutes after that was 5.8. Subsequent earthquakes since have been right around three, which the exception of one about an hour and a half ago, was a 4.2. So we'll watch that threat because of the rainfall and any sorts of aftershocks obviously could cause more headaches down the road here for the Hawaiian islands.
LIN: Right, good point to make that aftershocks are little earthquakes in and of themselves. When I covered the Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area, the earthquake out in Los Angeles, there were aftershocks that had a magnitude of 4.0, were pretty powerful in and of themselves and just rattled a lot of nerves and that went on for weeks after the main quake.
MARCIANO: Sure, especially if the earthquake itself happens a little bit in more shallow depth. So I hate to use the cliche out of the woods -- are they out of the woods? No, not by any means and we'll continue to monitor things. And hopefully things begin to simmer down as they usually do in these sorts of cases.
LIN: Right. Well it is, what about noon there, a little after noon local time. They've been dealing with the situation for about five hours now. Lack of power, in some cases, lack of water. And Rob, maybe too much water coming as you're going to be keeping an eye on flood watches, and warnings and the possibility of landslides tonight.
MARCIANO: Certainly will.
LIN: All right, thanks very much, Rob. We want to share some pictures that are coming into the CNN Center via our I-Reporters who are actually on the scene right now. You're looking at some of the landslide activity that was taking place on the big island of Hawaii.
Some of the debris on highway 19 as these large boulders came cascading down after this 6.6 earthquake. This is why the mayor of Hawaii, the big island there, is telling people to stay off the roads. It is an unstable situation.
Also, you can see this situation on the island of Kona, little landslide there that happened that one of our I-Reporters was able to capture and send to us.
Now we've been talking about the Honolulu International Airport. This is the scene there, according to one of our I-Reporters who's actually an airport employee. People who are standing around, they're really trying to dealing with the situation that planes are not taking off. The mayor of Honolulu has said that there's simply not enough electricity available. So there are flights that are coming in. They are able to land these planes, but they are not able yet to get anybody off the island.
I really want to thank our I-Reporters out on the scene because you're actually watching this story unfold before your very eyes. You should also know, because CNN has the ability to carry real-time broadcasts out of the earthquake zone, that we're hearing from people all over the country who are watching CNN's air. They know the situation and perhaps family visiting the islands of Hawaii, that this is the situation that they can watch on our air, as it unfolds, live.
So we encourage the I-Reporters to continue to send the pictures in. All you have to do is go to CNN.com and click on the I-Report button. It will guide you from there and we'll be looking forward to sharing some of your pictures throughout the evening.
In the meantime, we want to reconnect with our Hawaii affiliate KITV for the very latest information.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
DR. JOSH GREEN, KONA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: ... any emergencies, and you can get in touch with that hospital. I'll give you the number. It's -- I think you probably had it up a couple of times. The Kona hospital number is 322-9311. And they've done a great job coordinating with the governor's office. And of course, all of the other offices that you've been hearing about, the DMAT office to bring emergency services from the state onto the scene.
SHAWN CHING, KITV CORRESPONDENT: OK, have you seen anything like this before Josh? You've been up there for quite up some time, is that correct?
GREEN: Yes, I've been for many years a doctor on big island before the legislative business, and I've never had a big earthquake like this. This is the first time that it shook me so much that I actually took the, you know, the usual precautions and got inside of a doorway and then got a little nervous myself. So I haven't seen this. I've just seen little tremors before, so I don't know if we're heading toward a more significant earthquake. We have to defer to the experts on that.
CHING: So you were at work at the time this struck?
GREEN: Yes, I'm in the middle of a five-day shift. So the ER, I'm just here at the hospital. The Kona guys of course got hit hardest, because that's where the earthquake really -- that's where the epicenter was.
CHING: Right, oh, boy. Well thank you so much for calling in. Maybe off the air, one of our producers can get your contact information and we can be in touch with you through the morning?
GREEN: Yes, I'll be here until Wednesday.
CHING: OK, terrific. Thank you very much for calling in, State Representative Josh Green in the Kona area, who is actually an ER doctor.
PAULA AKANA, KITV CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so he's seen -- as he was saying, there's been some trauma from the Kona area. Eight patients in the Kona-Kailua area with injuries, including one where it appears that wood may have fallen out of the ceiling and hit him on the head. So we'll be hearing more about that, I'm sure, as the day goes on.
And we have Dick Allgire, who has just come from in from ...
DICK ALLGIRE, KITV CORRESPONDENT: I've been in Waikiki.
AKANA: ... Waikiki.
ALLGIRE: Yes, I'm going to give you a quick report. We're going to roll some of our raw tape, but of course people in Waikiki naturally felt the earthquake. But the problem down there in Waikiki is there's no information.
People came out of the hotels. They're down into the streets. They knew there had been an earthquake. They knew they were near the ocean and many people thought back immediately to the tsunami in Indonesia and Thailand, and we have an interview with a lady that literally ran for her life. Let's roll that tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, I'm out of here. I ran through all the way up to the canal and then I couldn't get across there. And then this other lady -- a couple come by and they go -- and I was standing there for quite while, you know when it was coming down. And she said, She said there's a tsunami coming. I'm like oh, great. So there was this couple that was on their honeymoon. We all took off and went as far as we could. We went down by Diamond Head and went up there and stayed up there. And then I was trying to reach my husband on the cell phone, he wasn't answering his cell phone. Oh, my gosh, it was horrible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLGIRE: Of course there was no tsunami generated. But they didn't know that at the time. The situation in Waikiki was -- I wouldn't say chaotic, it was just more kind of confusing. People were stuck in elevators. There were elevator repairmen going from hotel to hotel getting people out of the elevators. The hotels -- some of the emergency lighting didn't work. We talked to people that had to come down stairwells in the dark. Some hotels were handing out glow sticks.
People that are flying out today, they're not sure they're being told -- well, they're plane is flying, but they don't know that the airport is closed, most of the outgoing flights. So right now in Waikiki, it's pretty much confusion. I'm going to run back to the editing room, put some more stuff together, and I'll come back out and update you more on the situation.
CHING: You know, a few weeks ago we had the situation where the army excavator had hit over that pedestrian overpass and they were talking about this infrastructure, the system they had together to inform people in the visitor industry to let people know what's going on. So you're saying that that hasn't really happened?
ALLGIRE: People saw us and saw our camera, and knew that we were a news crew. And I had to talk to so many people, you know groups would gather around, what's going on? What happened? They knew there was an earthquake, but why is there no power? When's the power coming back up? What about airlines? We saw people out in front of hotels with their luggage thinking that they were going to the airport.
CHING: Yes, a report from the field is that the airport is not up and running because of the lack of power.
ALLGIRE: OK, so I'll check back with you in a little bit with some more from Waikiki.
AKANA: All right, thanks Dick.
CHING: Thank you very much, Dick.
AKANA: Yes, interesting confusion, many areas. Waikiki, down at the airport, as lack of information, lack of communications. Of course, if they don't have a battery powered radio or anything, they aren't able to get the information they need at this time.
CHING: Well when it happened this morning, the only way to really get information before we were on the air was to tune into your radio. There were a few radio stations on the air up and running. And like you said, if you don't have a power radio with batteries -- I mean, who carries around a radio with batteries?
AKANA: Probably a good wakeup call that we're needing to get those emergency kits at home. We are still in the middle of hurricane season as well. And a lot of us really don't do what we should do and be ready with battery-powered radios and extra batteries and water supplies and so forth.
CHING: Of course the situation on Oahu at this time, that we know of, is that the power is out. We actually have Jose Dizon from Hawaiian Electric Company on the line with the latest update. Jose, are you there?
JOSE DIZON, HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC COMPANY: Yes, good morning.
CHING: Good morning. What can you tell us?
DIZON: Right now, we have completed our preliminary inspections of the system. The one thing we were concerned about of course is after the earthquake, what kind of damage was done or could have been done to our generating units and to the transmission system. We've done that. And right now, it looks very promising.
What we are trying to do at this moment is start up generating units at both our Kailua and Wayal (ph) power plants. What we need to do -- and this is going to be a slow, methodical process, Shawn. Units are very big, you know, they contain a lot of metal. They have cooled down, so it's going to take time to warm up that metal again.
We're talking machines that operate -- rotate at 3,600 rpms. And if they're not warmed up evenly, they could cause damage. So it's going to be very methodical to warm them up. And then once we get a unit online, which I believe we're trying to get a unit online at a wire power plant at this moment, we will try to then energize power at our other power plants.
What we had to do in order to do that was to remove -- or, manually disconnect customers off our 138 kilovolt transmission grid, so that we have power running only between the power plants. Once we have power on to each of those power plants, we will then bring on customers very slowly, again very methodically so that we don't trip our units off. We don't want a situation where one or two units are going to try to carry the whole island, because then those units will just trip offline or maybe even be damaged.
AKANA: When do you think we'd actually start seeing some of the power back on?
DIZON: Sure, some customers Paula will be on, probably early this afternoon. Some might see some now, near the power plants. They might see power coming up as we energize units. But as we get more generating units online, which will probably be towards the afternoon, later on in the afternoon, we'll start bringing on more and more customers. And hopefully by the evening, early evening we'll be out of this.
LIN: I'm Carol Lin, at the CNN Center in Atlanta. You're watching live coverage on our affiliate KITV out of the earthquake zone where just about five hours there was a massive earthquake, 6.6 according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
There are several power outages. There are two hospitals reporting that injuries are starting to come in. Broken bones, lacerations, no deaths to report so far. Also no danger at this point of a tsunami striking the islands. But, the thing that they are dealing with right now is severe weather as rain starts moving into the area.
Rob Marciano tracking those storms for us tonight, also saying that there's going to be the possibility of floods as well as additional landslides. All of this happening in Hawaii. Extreme weather, damage from the earthquake as they try to assess the situation there.
And we just got this into the CNN Center, a statement out of the White House, extreme weather in New York. All of the snow in western New York has caused the president to declare a state of emergency in the state of New York. A lot happening here at the CNN Center, as we continue the live coverage out of Hawaii, where a 6.6 earthquake struck at 7:07 local time very early in the morning. Let's join our affiliate KITV.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
GARY SPRINKLE, KITV CORRESPONDENT: You say the sky looks funny now, huh?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sky is very sunny.
SPRINKLE: Oh, very sunny. OK well that's good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Winds started picking up, we got no rain here.
SPRINKLE: OK, so now structural damage or road problems that you know of?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No road problems or structural damage.
SPRINKLE: OK, Earl.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thing I heard on the radio is that there was a couple of landslides in the (INAUDIBLE) area.
SPRINKLE: In the what area, Earl?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
SPRINKLE: OK, Waikoloa area. OK, thanks very much, Earl.
And we also want to report that we've had several phone calls from the island of Hawaii, from people saying that they had not had a power issue at all today, and of course there may be pockets of Hawaii that have had power problems, but for the most part on the island of Hawaii, no power problems. Shawn, Paula, back to you.
AKANA: All right, thank you very much, Gary. We're going to go right now, we have Harry Kim, big island mayor on the line. Harry hi, how's things going on and what can you tell us? HARRY KIM, BIG ISLAND MAYOR: First of all, we do have some major problems here that we're still in emergency response mode. Our first priority obviously is making sure that those who need any kind of help are given that help.
And we have all the emergency officers here including the military here and national guard here to help us. The highest priority right now is to make sure the evacuees from the hospital, which is Kona, as well as the Hamakua long term care and needs are taken care of. We're still in a process of determining with the hospital who needs to be evacuated and where they're going to be evacuated too.
Some of them will be transported from Kona to Hilo. And the military is helping us on that transport because some of these do need special transportation, as far as to make sure that their needs are taken care of, including medics en route to Hilo.
The second priority would be those in the hotels. We do have a couple of our resorts here in Kona that has to be evacuated because of some water and structure type of damage that as a precaution, these people will be evacuated.
And we are talking in the numbers of at least a couple thousand people in hospitals and long-term care, probably in the 100 to 200 range level that has to be taken care of.
The other problems are typical of any type of earthquake of this magnitude, and that's infrastructure damage as well as major closures, two highways here that is obviously major concern. One of them would be the North Kailua district, a highway known as Akoni Pule Highway. I think a closure there is because of a possible bridge problem, and the other is known as Hamakua Belt Highway, that is because of collapse of the culvert in the ground area, needs to be checked for integrity before we can even think of opening them up.
AKANA: Have you seen -- what kind of injuries have you seen?
KIM: We've been lucky on that. The fire department is responsible for the coordination of all of our medical assistants, as far as injuries report. At this point, no cause for assistance has been received, as far as injury. So I think we can safely say, at this point, there are no injuries have been reported, and thankfully no fatalities have been reported.
CHING: Mayor, Shawn Ching here. Thanks for calling.
KIM: How are you doing, Shawn?
CHING: I'm doing OK. How are you doing up there?
KIM: I'm doing great. The rainbow is great.
CHING: They pulled out quite a win on the road. But we'll have to deal with that later. You know, you've been a long-time head of civil defense there previously. You've experienced a lot of natural disasters, phenomenon happening up there. How would you characterize this if you had to put this in context to what has happened?
KIM: First of all, the last major earthquake that I had of this magnitude, and I would just this magnitude meaning of six magnitude and above was -- the last six magnitude, occurred, I think in 1990.
So the problem with that, Shawn, is that we're lucky, you know, with long, long periods without earthquakes, which is unusual for this island, as far as that size. We do have thousands, and I do mean literally thousands of people who moved here in the past 16 or so years.
As far as people are very scared, that is a major factor here initially. And there are thousands of tourists that are here on a regular basis, and so we have to be sure that immediate communication was made with everyone of no tsunami threat because they can still see visions of Indian Ocean tsunami and that was brought within eight minutes after the earthquake and all emergency responders were given that information.
So as far as what -- how do I compare it with, I am surprised of a couple of things here. I will say that because being here, and a much larger earthquake. This was a 6.3. And you can never compare one earthquake to another. So I'm just comparing magnitude. We've had larger earthquakes as high as 7.2, as you know, in '75.
At least two or three higher than 6.3 since then or before then. And the damages to -- possible damage to bridges surprises me a little bit. But I can't comment too much on that because I don't have the engineer's report, whether this is serious damage or not. And I am surprised, in regards to some of the damage causing us to evacuate to, you know, hotels here in Kona and Kailua, because I couldn't ever recall that kind of damage being reported before.
AKANA: Senator Daniel Akaka is going to be flying over there to get a first-hand look at that. How important is it now that he's in town and to get that whole ball rolling on disaster relief?
KIM: You know how important it is because like all county government, I don't care where we're talking about. Our resources are quite limited, especially certain kind of financial and certain things that are expedited. Let's take a real small example that may be the case. When you have a major highway that has bridge damage, you really need to have the money, the resources to get it back in operation as soon as possible.
I am grateful that still, no more than a few hours after the earthquake, communication with state civil defense has been made and we requested for the governor's assistance because we need to go through to. We declared, shortly after 7:30 this morning to begin the ball rolling of asking the state, which was done. And we got calls from two congressional people, Senator Akaka and Senator Inouye indicated assistance in any way we requested, as far as expediting a request to be sure that we get what we can.
AKANA: Is there anything -- you know, we are broadcasting on your island, and your island is actually the one that has the most electricity at this time. Is there anything you want to say to the viewers on the island of Hawaii? Any message you want to get out to them?
KIM: Yes, you know, one of the things we have to know that is our job, is the element of quelching any kind of rumors. And always, as I've learned through all these years, you know, rumors just take off in the coconut wireless. And we know that and it is our job to make sure that as we are in this case, put out good, factual information and very timely information.
But even though we're trying to get the best of that, rumors prevail and eventually unfounded rumors get people very scared. And one of the things that was being circulated this morning, that we can expect even larger quake, and those things, naturally, when you say that, people are going to get scared.
So, thank you for your helping broadcast. This is not true, but it does or does not happen, you know. Nature carries its course, but at this point, there's no indication of any kind of secondary quake larger, aftershocks are a normal phenomena. We had a couple already.
CHING: Mayor, where were you this morning when the quake struck?
KIM: I'm laughing, because this my 40th anniversary. My wife and I was preparing to drive to the other side of the island, and find a nice place to have some brunch and enjoy the day.
AKANA: Oh, boy. You won't forget that one.
KIM: We won't forget this anniversary.
CHING: Well happy anniversary, mayor, congratulations on the Rainbows winning and hang in there on the big island. If you have any more further updates, please be in touch with us and we'll be in touch with you.
KIM: Thanks for the contact and thanks for your work.
AKANA: OK, thank you major. All right, we're going to back down into the newsroom to Gary Sprinkle -- Gary?
SPRINKLE: OK, thanks very much Paula. You know, in this day and age of streaming video, we get some of our information from the strangest places. And we may have information from the Lalpa Hoi-Hoi (ph) area of the big island, coming from El Serino, California. I have Beth on the phone -- Beth, what did you hear this morning about the Lapa Hoi-Hoi (ph) area?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well we have very good friends that live near Lapa Hoi-Hoi (ph) and we tried to reach them and one of them was actually in New York and had gotten through to his partner in Lapa Hoi-Hoi (ph) and Ming had drove down to see if the road was passable, and we were told that the main road is impassable by landslide, right at Lapahoihoi (ph) Gulch.
SPRINKLE: OK, thanks very much, Beth, and we appreciate you checking in with us.
And also we want to mention that we have had another report that here on this island, Oahu, that some areas of Pearl City and Makakilo now have power. And from the island of Kaho'olawe, we understand that there was a group of 50 some volunteers working on that island. They report that there was no damage sustained sustained on that island and everybody is OK. Paula, Shawn, back to you.
AKANA: All right Gary, thank you very much. And those reports in electricity in the Pearl City and Makakilo kind of drive what Jose Dizon from Hawaiian Electric was telling us, that they are trying to get some power back online at their Kahi (ph) and Wayal (ph) plants, kind of warming up the units. So areas around that will be seeing first electricity restored.
CHING: That's right. What they had to do was manually disconnect all of the customers from the power grid. And now they're starting to slowly reconnect them. He did say, as you mentioned, that it takes some time to heat up the metal, as he characterized it, to get power plants up and running. So he said that by this afternoon, that some of the areas, and the areas closest to the Wayal (ph) and Kahe (ph) power plants will see the first bit of power coming on to the island of Oahu. So if you're in Pearl City and you're catching this, welcome, it's been a wild morning. It has been an earthquake, 6.3 early this morning and considerable amount of aftershocks. And we have crews all over the island and the state and we're covering this for you.
AKANA: And right now we're going to go to one of those crews, Mahealani Richardson, who is standing by time at the Times in Kahala -- Mahealani?
MAHEALANI RICHARDSON, KITV CORRESPONDENT: Shawn and Paula, there are three things that people are really concerned about today because of the island-wide power outage on Oahu, and that's food, gas and water.
And in terms of the water and the food, people are coming here to Times in Kahala, where you can see the line is really starting to build up. Times is now just letting people in slowly to buy those supplies. And I can tell you that one of our producers went in there and things are starting to run out.
You know, people are buying the water, they're looking for the meats, they're looking for anything that they can get their hands on because of this power outage. And at this point, we don't know when the power is going to go back on.
Also people are concerned about gas, and we're also hearing that places like in Hawaii Kai (ph), all of the gas stations are closed, but I can tell you that the Chevron here in Kahala is open and the lines are terribly long because of the -- the lines are terribly long because people are trying to get their hands on gasoline for their cars.
And joining us now is Lilian Matsumato (ph). Thanks for joining us. She just went into the Times. First of all, what did you feel this earthquake this morning, was your reaction?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well No. 1, I was glad my husband was home because he's a police officer, and he was out on special duty. But when it came it totally shook, I mean, totally shook. And I just kind of jumped out of bed and I said what is that? And he said it's an earthquake. I said, oh, my god. But we took it with a grain of salt, we checked our house and everything and then we got up, got ready to go to church and we started out at church.
RICHARDSON: And you just came out of the Times here. Were you able to find everything that you were able to put on your shopping list? What did you buy right now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is only part of what we bought. But yes, we bought quite a few groceries and not because we're afraid of, but No. 1, we didn't have rice. So we didn't want to go without it. But as we drove around, many of the stores were closed. And we're fortunate enough to find that Times was open, although as you can see, the lines are long.
But people are really good and they're very nice on the road, polite, letting people drive in traffic in here. I'm just glad they are open for what we needed to have.
RICHARDSON: Right, and you also drove by the Chevron here. You had a difficult time getting some gasoline this morning, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we didn't go for gas, but we were passed and we looked and I told him, oh, I'm so glad we had gas because the line is tremendous, tremendous.
RICHARDSON: Lilian, thank you so much for joining us. And we also can tell you that Kalani High School is having a chicken sale (INAUDIBLE) chicken sale. The lines are long for that because that's one of the few places where you can get cooked meat. Reporting live from Kahala, Mahealani Richardson, KITV 4, back to you.
LIN: All right. You're looking at live coverage from our CNN affiliate KITV. You know, cooked chicken may be pretty important to some people because there are a lot of power outages out in Hawaii after a 6.6 earthquake. I'm Carol Lin at the CNN world headquarters. We've got information to update you in case you're just joining us on this big developing story. This earthquake in Hawaii struck on the west side of the big island. So far, no fatalities. However, hospitals reporting that patients are beginning to coming in. They have broken bones. There's heavy damage in some areas and the power is out in most of Oahu.
This earthquake struck on the northwestern side of the big island. That's where the epicenter was located but they're feeling reverberations throughout the region. There have been aftershocks as big as 5.8 that are being felt in the region. Later tonight, I'm going to be talking with the fire chief of the county of Hawaii. This is already what he's telling us over the telephone that again, areas of Kona, if you're taking a look at where there is no power, areas of Kona on the big island of Hawaii, as well as pockets along the eastern coastline of that island. There are reports of gas leaks in commercial areas or resorts. And there have been reports of landslides and some damage to various bridges.
Officials in that area are urging people, begging people not to get out on the roads. The only way emergency vehicles can get through freely is if people stay off the roads and they don't try to congest what roads are open. And there is damage still to be assessed. You don't know what you're going to run into if you head out of there. Honolulu international airport, there are no flights departing. So in case you're waiting for loved ones to return from the island of Oahu today, just know that there are no outbound flights. There's just simply not enough electricity to run that airport.
However, if you are here in the United States and you're trying to get to Hawaii, just know that inbound flights are being accepted at that airport. So an airplane can land in Honolulu, but airplanes cannot take off. This is the scene by one off our I-reporters on the ground, actually an employee at the Honolulu international airport, capturing the scene there as tourists, really, what can they do? They can't leave yet. And they are feeling the aftershocks and they are not out of the woods just yet.
Rob Marciano, our meteorologist in house has been talking about severe weather that may be affecting the earthquake zone as well as rain is beginning to move into the area. There is a danger of flooding and even more landslides. So we wanted to bring you the very latest right here on CNN. We are the only network carrying live real time reporting from the earthquake zone. We're glad to hear from people around the country who are happy to see this information coming over, because they can't get through on the phones. Information is just beginning to trickle out on the Internet. So hopefully providing a public service to you and giving you real time information as this story is happening.
It started at 7:07 this morning local time. It was very early in the morning when this 6.6 earthquake struck. As we give you a map of the region, you can see where the epicenter is by those circles there, very early in the morning and emergency crews are still out on the roads responding. They have not reported any deaths, but again, injured, are beginning to trickle in to area hospitals. I'm Carol Lin at the CNN center in Atlanta. Let's return you now to Paula Akana and Shawn Ching, the anchors at KITV.
AKANA: Thank you very much. Ray.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speaking of epicenter, we have some calls coming into our news room, people asking if it has anything to do with volcanic activity
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically, most people calling to want to know a state-wide view of where this earthquake actually happened. Here's a map of that. You can see it was just off the coast, the northwest coast of the big island, 6.6, according to the USGS at 7:07 this morning. You can see the volcano is actually moving below Hilo. That's the main volcanic activity. This probably has nothing to do with the volcano itself or volcanic activity. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Below Kona though right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Below Hilo, below the H in Hilo. (INAUDIBLE) volcano or (INAUDIBLE) volcano would be. So you can see it's on the complete opposite side of the island. It has probably nothing to do with the volcano, has probably something more to do with the island settling. These are huge, huge rocks over the ocean. It just takes years and years and years to settle. I'm just assuming that one of these heavy masses just kind of shifted a little bit to settle back down to where it belongs. You know what, 50 aftershocks so far reported, greater than 1.9. Of course, many of you felt the larger one immediately right after seven minutes, right after the initial quake.
You just got to think of a rubber band. You pull it. You let it go. It's going to vibrate for a good couple seconds and that's pretty much what is going to happen. You can expect more aftershocks hopefully none greater than what we saw out there today already.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, thank you Justin.
AKANA: And we're going to go back down to the newsroom. Gary Sprinkle is there. Gary.
SPRINKLE: OK, thanks Paula. A few moments ago, we told you that one caller had told us about possible problems in the (INAUDIBLE) area. Here on the phone, we've got Dr. Mark Winger who is telling us that not only is there problems, but a good portion of his property fell into the ocean. Doctor Mark Winger, what can you tell us?
DR. MARK WINGER: This morning, my wife Kathy and I woke up like I guess everybody else to the earthquake and we had a difficult time getting out of our bedroom into the grassy area with our dogs. And I looked out towards the ocean. Our home is only about 10 feet from the ocean bluff. And I watched as the trees went down into the ocean. I have 790 feet of ocean bluff and the entire bluff went into the ocean. From our fence line, which the state owns the land from the fence line, which is just about a couple feet, actually, and it all went into the ocean, 790 feet of it.
SPRINKLE: What did that cause? Did that -- must have been really loud? Can you draw us a picture of what that --
WINGER: It was -- it caused all of the neighbors, of course, ran out of their houses to look at it. The Coast Guard, their planes flew by and they observed it. And the mud went in to the ocean and the trees went into the ocean. And, of course, when the rains do come, and we're expecting them tonight and tomorrow, it's going to cause more erosion from our property, and I'm going to lose probably a good portion of my property, and maybe the house.
SPRINKLE: Well, are you -- are you -- your house, your neighbors, is anybody threatened at this point as a result of losing that portion of the bluff?
WINGER: Well, the police came to my home, and said we should evacuate, because there are stresser cracks up to the home itself. And we're only 10 feet from the bluff itself.
SPRINKLE: And will you?
WINGER: Yes, we are.
SPRINKLE: OK, OK, anything else you can tell us about that area, Dr. Winger? Is it accessible at this point?
WINGER: Yes, it is. It's still accessible by a small road. But it's not advisable. They have one road, actually, on highway 19, that they've got the boulders out of the (INAUDIBLE) gulch. We have one road that we're using to get around that but only for emergency purposes.
SPRINKLE All right, sir, thank you for your call and stay safe.
WINGER: Thank you.
SPRINKLE: Paula and Shawn, back to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much, Gary. We're joined now by Dick (INAUDIBLE). We heard from you earlier about the situation in Waikiki, a lot of high rises, a lot of confused people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two things I want to talk about in this report is, first of all, how people were able to get out of hotels with the power outage without some of the emergency lights working. Then they're trying to get food and water. So let's roll some videotape a little earlier in Waikiki. You can see a lot of people lined up at ABC stores. For those of you watching around the country and around the world, ABC stores are convenience stores in Waikiki. There's one about every block. There's no power there, so what they're doing is, they're letting people in one at a time and ringing them up by hand. So a lot of people waiting to get in there. Let's hear from the experiences of a couple people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got survivor stuff. Sandwiches, chips, candy, everything. Water.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Matches.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Matches
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're set.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope we're set.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you from?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're from Fresno, California.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you've felt earthquakes before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How was this one? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were on the bus. I thought the bus driver was just jerking the bus around a little bit. It was pretty powerful.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The maids were passing these out to all of us and then we were able to go through the halls with these and then we went to the stairs and went down with the lights.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a little eerie because the stairwells are pretty small and you've got people going down and some are coming up. So it was kind of spooky.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the mood in Waikiki is one of confusion, people milling around out on the streets. The hotels are mostly darkened and closed. People wondering when the power is going to come back on and I'll come back a little bit later. We talked to the lady who has a child who's diabetic and they were out of syringes and they were trying to figure out what to do and they were getting some advice from other diabetics, so some medical problems.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Earlier, you mentioned Dick about people trapped in elevators and the elevator repair serviceman going from hotel to hotel. Can you elaborate more on that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were busy. What they had to do was, they have these little tools apparently to pry the door open. We were trying to follow some of them into hotels, but hotels didn't want us on their property, so we were escorted by security. It was a good try, but yeah, we saw a lot of busy elevator repairman today in Waikiki.
AKANA: Of course, that question that you have and they have out there in Waikiki is when is the power going to go on. We spoke with Jose Dizon from Hawaiian Electric just a little while ago. They are starting up some of the basic generators at the Kahi and the (INAUDIBLE) power plants. So it's going to take a while looking into maybe early evening before we see power back on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. You said you wanted to try....
LIN: All right. Carol Lin at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. You're watching live coverage from our affiliate KITV in Hawaii, as this 6.6 earthquake struck at 7:00 in the morning, a little after 7:00 in the morning, very early local time out there. Hawaii is about six hours earlier from east coast time. So it is about the middle of the day there. They've been dealing with the situation now for about five or six hours. And we were just watching on KITV eyewitness accounts of what it felt like when that 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck. In fact we have one of our affiliate reporters who's from Orlando. He reports from the station WKMG, Eric von Aiken (ph).
VOICE OF ERIK VON ANCKEN, REPORTER VACATIONING IN HAWAII: Hi, Carol.
LIN: You live in Orlando. You're vacationing on the big island of Hawaii. Did you feel it this morning? VON ANCKEN: Yeah, that's the thing. It was supposed to be a vacation. We're up early, which is unusual for us. It's about 6:00. We're walking around, gorgeous, gorgeous place. It is paradise, right up until this happened. About an hour later, just after 7:00, as you say. We were walking very close to the ocean, maybe a hundred yards off the ocean, right next to a lagoon. And the first thing that happened is there were fish that started to jump and we thought it was fountains (ph) like jumped out of the water. As we know, animals tend to feel this first. Of course we didn't realize what was going on until the rumbling started. Everything was shaking. It felt like a ride at one of the theme parks. Then the windows started to wobble. I mean, buckle almost, in and out. It was really, really loud.
LIN: This is at your hotel?
VON ANCKEN: Yes, yes. This is the resort which we're staying just north of Kona on the big island here on the west coast, right on the pacific here.
LIN: And you're surrounded, ironically, by volcanic rock. The big island of Hawaii is pretty barren. It's kind of a testament to the volcanic activity of that area and ironic that you should be there feeling this as it was happening. Did you feel at any time that the windows were going to start breaking, that there was any damage to the resort where you're staying?
VON ACKEN: That's what we're afraid of. Definitely thought we were going to find some broken glass. Structurally there are a few issues. At some of the joints, you can see there's cracks down the walls and some of the columns, the chandeliers, parts of that came down. But you're just talking about the volcanoes. One of the issues is when people realized what was going on, they started to run out of their rooms and everyone ran towards the lobby and the first thought is what you've been talking about all day, the tsunami. And management and some of the other employees started rushing everybody out and moving us up toward the golf course. One of the discussions that came up was the one active volcano that as you know has been erupting for 25 years, is the lava going to change direction? (INAUDIBLE) might come out somewhere else and it was a lot of...
LIN: (INAUDIBLE) people know Erik, I want people to know that the pictures that they're seeing right now is from the big island. This is classic landscape to the big island of Hawaii. You're seeing a small landslide of some of that black and gray volcanic rock. And Erik, we were also showing some pictures of homes that appear to be collapsed. We want to let the audience know in case they have friends or family in Hawaii that, believe it or not, even in those structures, nobody was injured. But there was some really severe damage. Erik, can you tell us where you were staying in case there are folks here on the mainland who are concerned, may be friends or relatives who are staying in the same hotel or the area?
VON ACKEN: It's the large Hilton resort just north of the airport, on the west coast. (INAUDIBLE) the only one on the island.
LIN: And it's part of a big shopping complex, isn't it? VON ACKEN: That's exactly correct. King's shopping, I believe, something like that.
LIN: That's a big tourist attraction because of the number of swimming pools and the tram I think that runs through that complex. It's a very family-friendly kind of complex. You get a lot of children in that particular kind of resort. So Erik, have you had to report into your station?
VON ACKEN: I have called Carol and I talked with them a while ago as well. Originally we hadn't even planned on coming here. We were headed to Sydney, Australia and this was kind of a last-minute decision. We got in here last night and who would have thought. You know what it's been like, is covering so many hurricanes in Florida, Orlando, specifically and Sarasota, before that, same kind of aftermath. Once things calm down, looking, evaluating, seeing what the problems are, and then that's what takes time. This is going to be days, weeks, I can imagine months to recover here.
LIN: How did the hotel deal with the situation?
VON ACKEN: Well, it was very difficult to get the information out to guests. I asked the front desk. They say they have no PA system inside the rooms. So people ran out of the rooms, some panicked, others wondering what had happened were woken up, as you mentioned, this was about 7:00 a.m. Initially the employees started ushering people towards the main lobby and behind that the golf course course. But remember, there were so many guests and not that many employees, especially not immediately. People were running back and forth. We changed direction a bunch of times. Again, this was our first full day here so we didn't even know where the main lobby was.
LIN: Right and this set off -- it's actually set off the main road a bit. So even if there aren't shuttle buses running at the time, where would everybody go? And we're already hearing that Honolulu international airport, you can't get a flight out. So I don't know what the situation is at the Kona airport. It's a smaller airport. They may not have that problem. Do you know?
VON ACKEN: I just stopped a United pilot here. He was walking by in his uniform. He had just landed from San Francisco he said and he was one of the few and the only flights to land, from what I understand. He said that the problem at the airport is refueling these jets. The fuel comes from Kona, which is south of here. So one of those roads is impassable. That's what he said, anyway and they can't get the fuel to the jets. Now, of course the other big issue is power outages. If the airport is operating under full power and they have no problem with screening, but from what I understand earlier, there was no power which means how do you screen thousands of passengers? You got to go through it by hand.
LIN: Right. Right, which, at the Kona airport actually, it pretty much looks like that's what they do because it's such a small airport, but they do have metal detectors there as well. Erik, that's really valuable information from the folks who are here stateside. I'm sure your family if they're here stateside are just relieved to hear from you. We're hearing from CNN viewers around the country as they're watching our coverage as we carry - we're the only network right now that's carrying local affiliate coverage, in real time information from the region, from the earthquake zone. Erik, I hope you get a chance to finish your vacation. If not, you may be in Hawaii a few more days.
VON ACKEN: Thank you Carol. It looks like it's going to be a few days at least, even if we want to leave today, I don't think we could. Not that we want to. It's gorgeous, aside from this, aside from this.
LIN: Take care, Erik, enjoy yourself when you can. That was Erik von Acken. He's with our Orlando affiliate WKMG. He's on vacation in Hawaii. Used to covering extreme weather, all the hurricanes in Florida and now he finds himself in the middle of the earthquake zone. I'm Carol in at CNN center. We're going to keep you posted. We're going to be giving you as much flight information as we can in case you're coming to Hawaii or even trying to get out. We know people in Hawaii are also watching CNN's coverage as well. We'll be back in a few minutes. In the meantime, let's rejoin our Hawaii affiliate KITV.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't call us with that information, because we don't have it. What we suggest is, if you're concerned about flights, call the airline. Every airline situation is different. Some have cancelled flights. Some are still flying. The baggage situation at the airports are being handled manually, a lot of situations where they're still without power, so it's different with every airline. Call your airline. Call your airport in whatever city you're in. Find out if flights are still on. Do not call Honolulu airport. They are already being inundated with phone calls. And for the most part, be patient. Try to call your relatives. So that's the latest from here. Back to you, Paula and Shawn.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks, Pam. And again, for those of you watching in the state and also across the country, there are no reports of any fatalities. We do have reports of injuries however, but no fatalities at this point.
AKANA:: No fatalities, a lot of structural damage especially on the island of Hawaii. But right now we're going to go live to Mahealani Richardson in the Kahala area. Mahea...
RICHARDSON: Paula and Shawn, well I can tell you that the lines are still long here at the Kahala Times. People basically need food and water. They're going into the times basically just a few at a time because it's really crowded here at times. We're starting to learn that this Times location is running out of ice. They've also run out of batteries, but they still have food and they still have water so that's the good news. People just are trying to get any supplies that they can. Now speaking of lines, people also need gasoline for their cars. The Chevron is right around the corner from this Times and I can tell you that the line is tremendously long. It's basically the length of the Hala (ph) mall, the line going into the Chevron so people desperately trying to get gas in this situation today. But for the most part, people are pretty calm here, even though they're starting to learn of the damage on the big island and on Maui, people pretty calm. They just want to get their supplies and get home as soon as they can. Reporting live from Kahala, Mahealani Richardson. Paula and Shawn, back to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much Mehea.
We have some new photographs that have been sent into the station from the island of Hawaii. These are photographs of -- this looks like private property damage here. We have some photographs of Queen (INAUDIBLE) highway.
AKANA: That's right. There was a lot of structural damage on the highway. We see boulders in there. We see a crack in the highway. There's been reports of cracks and deep openings in the highway, including some areas that look like sink holes. I'm not sure what we're seeing here on this one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you flip it around, you can see --
AKANA: A house that's separated from its foundation. There we see more rocks and boulders that have come down from the side of the highway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big island Mayor Harry Kim said they have two known road closures at this time. There's a portion off the (INAUDIBLE) highway which is north of Kahala which is closed and also the (INAUDIBLE) highway. There's an area closed there because of rock slides such as this. Those are not pictures of those two specific closures that we know of, but this is similar to some of the things that are being reported at this hour, regarding some of the damage being created there from this earthquake which happened this morning at about 7:08 a.m.
AKANA: There we see in the Kona area, big retaining wall that's come down from a home there. I mean that was like a triple layer retaining wall that came down there. We also have reports from (INAUDIBLE) from Dr. Mark Winger that a huge piece of his property, a bluff just fell right into the ocean. So extensive property damage.
We also have news right now of a school closure. We probably will be hearing more as the day goes on and parents are told to not call their schools, but just to kind of wait and see for news from the department of education. This is coming from Josh (INAUDIBLE) that the Hulawali (ph) academy in west Hawaii is closed tomorrow to students only. Faculty and staff are being told to report for work for cleanup efforts. Halwali, one of the areas that sustained some of the damage from this quake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) said earlier that assessment teams have been sent out across the state. They are on the big island assessing the damage there and again talking about school closures, we'll probably hear possibly more throughout the day. We'll get you up to speed on that as soon as we hear more. But the state is actively assessing the damage now. Lieutenant Governor (INAUDIBLE) signed for Governor Lingle (ph) a proclamation which has declared a state of emergency for the island of Hawaii and that enables the governor to activate the National Guard if need be. That also allows the governor to tap into resources, funding, monetary funding to cover any type of damage. Again, the assessment team is still coming to that conclusion on the extent of the damage and the monetary issues involved with that. So the state is right now looking at that aspect of it.
AKANA: The governor was on the big island overnight. She was there to feel the earthquake in the Kona area. She's there and she is on her way back to Honolulu as we speak. When she gets back in here, she'll be briefing the civil defense officials at the emergency command center and then we'll be hearing from her sometime this afternoon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. If we take a look at the island chain. We can start on the island of Kauai here. We can tell you that we have very limited reports coming out of the island of Kauai if we could get that up on the screen for you, limited power supply there. We can tell you that we have viewer e-mails that have come in earlier this morning regarding the power situation there, that there are some areas there with power. We can't tell you exactly which ones but we can tell you that there is some power on the island of Kauai. As we go down of course, the island of Oahu, the city and county of Honolulu. We can tell you that the power situation is coming up slowly. The (INAUDIBLE) and Koni power plants are being brought back online and customers are slowly being connected. In order to preserve the system and not cause any damage to it, they have to slowly bring people back online in a very methodical and careful manner according to Jose Dizon from Hawaiian Electric Company. (INAUDIBLE) we just talked to the major, Paula, Ellen Arakawa (ph).
AKANA: That's right. They're about 50 percent electricity back on. Major damage in the Hana (ph) highway area, actually Hana is closed off at this point. One bridge sustained pretty extensive damage and there are several rock slides in that area as well, but Denby Fawcett has joined us and she got on the last flight from Kauai.
DENBY FAWCETT, KITV: That's right. I just got in and they told me very lucky to get out. And what they were doing was packing our plane with passengers headed toward the mainland and told to get on this plane or you won't have a chance to get out and it was very odd landing. We had to walk down the regular ramp out of the back of the plane and then walk into a very dark airport. But the electricity was on in Kauai. And everyone - this is a pitch for us -- was tuned in to KITV.
AKANA: How was it going through security? Was TSA up and running with its normal security measures?
FAWCETT: Yes, they were. It was very normal. All the electricity is on there, so it seems like a normal departure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where were you staying on Kauai?
FAWCETT: I was down in (INAUDIBLE) where we felt it very much and never had that experience in my life
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was it like for you out there with the people around you? You came out - we've heard people saying that they felt numb, that they weren't sure what was going on. What was it like there for you?
FAWCETT: I think for us, it was just more interesting. We were just fascinated. Oh, my gosh, it's an earthquake. We were having breakfast at my friend's beach house so more kind of not fun, but interesting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about damage? Did you come across anyone suffering any damage there, any road situation, rock slides?
FAWCETT: No, there's no damage there at all that I can see. The only thing was one light was off by Cocoa Palms so people drove very slowly. It was quite minimal I'd say there, except for the airport situation.
AKANA: When you arrived back here in Honolulu, how was the Honolulu airport? Still pretty packed?
FAWCETT: They escorted us right through a back stairwell and down the - up the dark stairs and then down again. So it didn't seem so and then we came into a dark, dark baggage area, with people carrying our baggage for us, hand carrying it out to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What else is it like at Honolulu international upon arrival there? We've heard Daryl Huff is there on the scene gathering information. But we heard it's been pretty crazy at Honolulu international.
FAWCETT: Where I was I didn't see that. It was calm because I was down stairs so the very few arriving flights. It was just very dark and I bumped into a lady whose suitcase was in front of mine and that's about it. But it wasn't hectic and then they had men guiding you across, because of course there were no lights.
AKANA: Well, thank you very much. Glad you got back.
FAWCETT: Good to be back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have an update from Kona that the Lowe's in (INAUDIBLE) Kona is open for business but portable generators are out of stock. So if you're going there for a portable generator, that's not the place to go.
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