Lawmakers tour Keehi as boat owners begin salvage

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

KEEHI LAGOON (HawaiiNewsNow) – State lawmakers who toured Keehi Lagoon Tuesday say as many as 60 boats may have been sunk when the tsunami hit Hawaii last week.

"Apparently we have as many as 60 boats unaccounted for and I think we saw a $1 million to $1.5 million in damage. To the state's credit its piers did well compared to the private sector piers, but it looks like we're going to have a lot of construction," said state Representative Tom Brower.

"In some cases we know there's a boat there, but we don't what exactly is down there. You can certainly see half sunken boats. Boats strewn around the area," added Representative Joey Manahan, whose district includes Keehi Lagoon.

While lawmakers were touring the lagoon divers were checking on the condition of sunken vessels.

Shipwright Kerry Locke swam in the murky water just off pier 800 at the Keehi Lagoon Boat Harbor. He was inspecting the racing yacht Sensation.

"I believe the sail boat is sitting on top of a power boat that's laying down there on the bottom," Locke told Hawaii News Now.

"We're going to float it," said Captain Jeff Lansdown, a friend of Sensation owner Gary Fanger. "If the damage is minimum, we're going to do some temporary patches so we can keep it afloat. Otherwise it'll have to be floated partially and taken over to a crane and pulled out," Lansdown added.

LaDon VanNoy was on the mainland when the tsunami hit. He returned a few days later and found his boat partially submerged hundreds of yards from where it had been docked.

"Yes, frustrated, angry, mad," VanNoy said. "I'm all of that and a lot more. And damn lucky. Very very lucky. I lived in Japan for a while. And I know people in Sendai. So, I really feel sorry for those people," he added while fighting back tears.

Van Noy estimates the value of his boat at $200,000 and believes it has suffered at least $50,000 in damage.

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