Whipping winds damage structures, topple trees, injuring at least 4 people

Two rushed to hospital after falling tree crushes SUV in Kahana Valley

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The gusty winds that moved in over the weekend are being blamed for several injuries, along with damages to a construction site.

Strong winds brought down a gigantic Ironwood tree that crushed a passing SUV traveling on Kamehameha Highway just before 10 a.m. Monday in Kahana Valley.

The 57-year-old driver and a 69-year-old passenger were rushed to the hospital. EMS officials confirmed both women were in serious condition.

Tree branches also clipped two parked cars and dragged down power lines on the opposite side of the road.

Crews worked into the early afternoon to cut the tree into pieces and move it off to the side of Kamehameha Highway.

Tammy Nichols was on The Bus, headed to Hauula when she says the driver suddenly stopped.

Nichols said she heard the driver utter, “Oh my gosh!” before rushing over to see if there was anything they could do.

“When I went toward the car. It was all crushed like pancake. All the broken glass,” Nichols said.

She says the vehicle so mangled she could only see the driver.

“Somebody was trying to figure out if she was OK,” said Nichols. “But we all knew there was not much we could do to help because she’s trapped in there. We needed to get the firefighters.”

Bystanders kept the women calm talking to them until rescue crews arrived.

HECO crews wrapped up repairs about 1:00 p.m. With all the damage Nichols says it’s a miracle everyone survived.

“If the tree fell a little bit (toward) where the driver’s seat was -- she would have been gone already,” Nichols said. “She’s lucky.”

It’s the second massive tree that’s toppled on Oahu injuring someone in the past 24 hours.

On Sunday, windy weather toppled a 60-foot Cook Pine at the Mililani Golf Club.

Another angle of the downed tree.
Another angle of the downed tree. (Source: Rob Young)

Three people were struck including a four-year-old boy when the tree fell right on the driving range. HNN confirmed a woman who was hospitalized was later released.

The National Weather Service says at the time, winds in the area were blowing east north east and gusting at 32 miles per hour.

And over on Hawaii Island, high winds also wrecked a construction site on Sunday.

Construction material and the framing for the future Waikoloa Plaza Shopping Center in South Kohala was blown and knocked over in the wind. 

A nearby wind gauge showed gusts nearing 50 miles an hour. 

Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Construction site damaged by winds on Hawaii Island.
Construction site damaged by winds on Hawaii Island. (Source: Joe Wedemann)

Copyright 2021 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.