Community shaken after 5-ton boulder crashes onto Manoa patio

Community shaken after 5-ton boulder crashes onto Manoa patio
Published: Apr. 13, 2018 at 2:10 AM HST|Updated: Apr. 13, 2018 at 5:21 PM HST
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MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Roy Tsutsui was watching television Thursday night when he heard "a big crash." He thought there was an accident on his street.

What really happened: A 5-ton boulder had crashed onto his backyard lanai in Manoa.

What was his reaction when he saw it? "I was thinking it was a pretty big boulder."

The boulder fell from somewhere above his home around 7:00 p.m. and rolled into a gated community called Manoa Hillside Estates. The giant rock crashed in between Tsutsui and his neighbor's home on Kalawao Street, only crushing his fence and plants.

Neighbors said they were shaken, and grateful no one was injured.

"I heard a series of crashes and each crash, immediately I knew what it was after two, and I was hoping that each one would stop and then five or six, everything was quiet," resident Art Whistler said.

Another neighbor's house was also damaged by smaller, bowling ball-sized rock that hit the roof, damaging three or four tiles.

"There's another boulder, a smaller one, that hit the other side of the house and took out our neighbor's awning and their air conditioning unit and then landed on our roof," said Tsutsui's wife Lisa.

A Honolulu Fire Department spokesman described the bigger boulder as oblong and about 4.5 feet long and 3.5 feet wide.

Tsutsui, an engineer, estimates it weighs about five to six tons and caused about $10,000 in damage.

It's the latest in a history of rockfalls in Hawaii. In 2002, 26-year old Dara Rei Onishi died when a boulder crashed into her Nuuanu home.

Since then, many hillside communities have built barriers against rockfall.

"I'd heard of it happening around the valley and I thought we were immune to that. Plus, you can see there's a fence up there to protect us. But it went right through the fence," said Tsutsui's neighbor Art Whistler.

What happens next is unclear.

The city tax map indicates the hill is owned by the Manoa Hillside Estates homeowners' association. But its management company says it's up to the individual homeowner to hire a land surveyor to assess the integrity of the hillside.

Tsutsui said he will have to hire a company to remove the boulder and make repairs and work out the logistics with his insurance company.

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