MAUI (WTOL) - It wasn't the way Doug Jones and his wife Kimberly from the Toledo area planned to spend their honeymoon. They said their "I do's" on September 30th, then jetted off for a vacation in the tropical island paradise of Hawaii. Then on Sunday morning, an earthquake changed their plans, scared their parents and relatives, and extended their stay in paradise for two extra days.
An earthquake measuring magnitude 6.7 hit at 7:07 a.m. local time, 10 miles north-northwest of Kailua-Kona, on the west coast of the Big Island. On Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey raised its measurement of the magnitude to 6.7 from a preliminary 6.6. Now more than 24 hours after the quake, there are no reports of any deaths or serious injuries, and there are few signs of any major damage from the quake or several aftershocks, including one measuring magnitude 6.0.
At least one stretch of road leading to a bridge near the epicenter collapsed, Civil Defense Agency spokesman Dave Curtis said. Several other roads on the Big Island were closed by mudslides, debris and boulders, but most were still passable, he said. Power was out to most of the island, and crews worked through the day on Monday to restore it.
Doug and Kimberly both work at the GM Powertrain plant in Toledo. They say the experience has been ... interesting. After all, they're from the Midwest, and this was their first earthquake. "It was kind of weird because everybody went out the front doors, and everybody looked like they just got up, guys in boxers and everything," said Doug on the phone from Hawaii. "It was like, 'Wow, was that an earthquake?' It was kind of interesting to see everyone's reaction."
Doug tells News 11 their day was to begin with packing and getting ready to head to the airport. When the earthquake hit, the hotel lost power. Doug says it could have been a lot worse. At least, he says, they're in Maui.
"We were still laying in bed. We were up and it just started shaking and it was just kind of gentle at first, it just got more rougher and rougher. I wouldn't say violent, it got pretty rough after about 30 seconds, and that was it," Doug said.
For Fran Hunter, the Hawaiian earthquake hit home in Adrian, Michigan, when her daughter Kimberly called from Maui, to describe the unexpected twist in her honeymoon. "I wouldn't let her hang up the cell phone," said Fran. "I just wanted to talk to her to try to reassure her everything's going to be okay."
Fran says at the time she was anything but composed, but she had to be the voice of comfort for Kimberly, especially during an aftershock. "It started shaking and I wouldn't let her hang up because I was afraid something major would happen and I needed to talk to her, talk her through this at least to calm her down," said Fran. "I was a nervous wreck myself, not knowing what was going on."
Fran says she's simply glad her daughter and new son-in-law are safe, but she also knows they'll have a story to tell for the rest of their lives. "As they say, memories are etched. Well, this one will be in the book for them," she quipped.
Doug tells News 11 that he and his wife are now scheduled to leave tomorrow and return home Wednesday morning. On Monday morning, the Honolulu airport was filled with passengers still waiting for a flight out. Silas Garrett, a 52-year-old truck driver from Memphis, Tenn., had been there since 8 a.m. the previous morning. He said he and his five sisters slept on the floor using beach towels as blankets and handbags as pillows. "Every pound we gained on the cruise ship, we lost in the airport," Garrett said. "The quake shook it off."
Many Hawaii residents breathed a similar sigh of relief. On the Big Island, people were already returning to work and their lives, as bicyclists training for Saturday's Ironman World Championship zipped along the highway. "If you're going to have an earthquake, you couldn't have had it at a better time - early in the morning when people aren't even out of their homes yet," Curtis said. "I think people, under the circumstances, have remained very calm."
John P. Lockwood, a former USGS volcanologist who is now a private consultant, said another blessing was that the quake did not divert lava flows from Hawaii's volcanoes to populated areas. The lava flows safely into the sea.
Even so, "this brings to forefront the need for people to have 72 hours' worth of supplies to keep them going" after a quake, said Kim Walz, a spokeswoman with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
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This story brought to KHNL.com courtesy of sister station WTOL Toledo.