One local told us it was a day Hawaiians will never forget — the day the earth shook violently for nearly one minute.
It was just after seven o'clock in the morning on October 15th when the ground began to shake and shake. Some people said it felt like it would never stop. A 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck under the ocean about ten miles off the coast of Kona on the Big Island — but residents and tourists alike felt the trembler all across the island chain, all the way to Kauai, the island farthest away.
All flights to Kona were canceled, so our Los Angeles-based crew had to fly into Kauai. We arrived there Sunday evening around 9 p.m. or so, and quickly convinced a ticket agent to put us on another flight to Honolulu so we could be closer to Kona.
After landing in Honolulu close to midnight, we discovered it was too late to get on another flight to Kona, so we decided to start reporting from where we were.
After doing a few live shots for the FOX News Channel, we were able to get booked on a 5 a.m. flight to Kona.
Once we arrived, we were relieved to see there was not visible or extensive damage. It was amazing that despite the power and magnitude of the quake, the damage seemed limited and the governor, Linda Lingle, was reporting no serious injuries or deaths. It seemed miraculous and unbelievably fortunate that the island had been spared devastation. By contrast, the 1994 Northridge earthquake, a magnitude 6.8, caused widespread, major damage to infrastructure and homes, and resulted in more than 50 deaths.
Still people were shook up. We just happened to come across a gentleman from California who told us he had been through many, many earthquakes, some of them bigger than this one, but that this quake had left him scared to death. He told us he simply couldn't believe how long the ground shook.
And yes there was some damage — early estimates put the costs of repair work at more than $50 million dollars. As we drove around the island, we saw cracks in the road, rockslides and one very old church built in the 1800's that had been completely demolished.
Public officials told us they believed many homes sustained structural damage, and we also heard about a couple of hotels that had visible damage as well. One hospital had to evacuate patients because of falling ceiling tiles, but fortunately nobody was hurt.
There's no question the quake and the roughly 50 aftershocks have left many people feeling scared and a little shell-shocked. Anybody who has ever been through a big earthquake can easily understand this. There's no way to prepare for it, and little you can do once it's happening. Still, the overwhelming feeling we got from talking to people on the Big Island was that they were lucky. No one was left trapped, or stranded, and there was no loss of life.
Hawaii definitely dodged a bullet, and what they were left with was a real wake-up call, a call to be ready with necessary supplies and evacuation plans for their families the next time the ground shakes violently again.
• E-mail Anita Vogel
Anita Vogel joined FOX News Channel as a Los Angeles based correspondent in October 2001. Click here to read her complete bio.
Anita Vogel joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 2001 and currently serves as a Los Angeles based correspondent.