Reporters who covered Iniki never forgot Kauai's kindness

Updated: Sep. 14, 2017 at 6:27 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the journalists who covered Hurricane Iniki 25 years ago, the storm is still a vivid memory.

"It was just one of those things where you'll never forget," said Geneva Chin, a former KGMB reporter.

No one expected Kauai to take a direct hit. Suddenly, TV crews were reporting on the most powerful hurricane to strike the state in Hawaii's recorded history.

"I remember being out in the winds, the hurricane winds," said Chin. "It was so powerful you just felt out of control. It was just amazing, really."

Former KGMB reporter Geneva Chin rode out the storm in Lihue, alongside the cast and crew of 'Jurassic Park.'

"Apparently, Spielberg had wanted his actors to actually go in the hurricane winds to act during the hurricane, but you know they were too smart," says Chin. "They did not want to do that because it was scary, you know. It was so powerful."

Garett Kamemoto and his photographer roamed the island after Iniki swept through. Then came the problem: Since all commercial flights were canceled, they had no way to get back to Oahu.

"The governor had brought a bunch of people to survey the damage, and they were getting out at the same time, so we were able catch ride with the governor on a Hawaiian Airlines jet," said Kamemoto.

The island was torn apart, but both Chin and Kamemoto say the resiliency of the people of Kauai was never broken.

"A lot of people would walk up to us and say, 'You know, this is a really good thing that it did not hit Oahu. We can handle, we're gonna get through this,'" Kamemoto said.

"Here we were, you know, a crew, and people were putting whatever they had in their freezers onto the BBQ so we'd have something to eat," said Chin. "They didn't even know us, they didn't even know where their next meals were going to come from or how long their food was going to last, but they were just so generous and so kind and I'll just never forget."

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