At Kualoa Ranch, a real WWII-era bunker came in pretty handy this weekend

At Kualoa Ranch, a real WWII-era bunker came in pretty handy this weekend
Updated: Jan. 18, 2018 at 4:13 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When the false missile alarm set off smart phones Saturday morning, there were more than 300 customers at Kualoa Ranch on Oahu's Windward side.

"That Saturday we had one of our biggest tours in the Education Department," education tours manager Alan Shepard said.

Cruise ship passengers and others were there for Kualoa's tours that were suddenly interrupted at 8:07 a.m. About 20 employees were working.

"Everybody hopped to it and said whoever is here we're going to take them up to our military bunker," ranch president John Morgan said.

Employees shepherded people onto buses, and into vans and other vehicles. They drove them about a mile to this World War II bunker called Battery Cooper.

"It was people off the beach, people that live in the houses along the side of the road, asking, 'Can we come up there?'  We said the more the merrier to get everybody up there as quickly and efficiently as we could," Shepard said.

The U.S. Army built the bunker in 1943. Kualoa Ranch uses it as an exhibit center with props and sets from movies and TV shows shot at the scenic visitor attraction.

On Saturday, Battery Cooper was shelter for hundreds of people fearing a nuclear attack..

"I actually was in the grocery store the other day and I had my shirt on because I had just come from here," Kualoa employee Libby Myers said. "A woman came up to me and said that she had heard that Kualoa had welcomed people in. I thought that was wonderful."

"Their heads were in the game. No one panicked," Shepard said.

Morgan said Kualoa has opened its property during tsunami evacuations, so his workers are trained for emergencies..

"It was pretty clear what we were going to do and we just went and did it," he said.

Ranch workers estimate everybody was evacuated within 20 minutes of the missile alert, but some workers stayed behind in case more people needed help.

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.