In wake of quake
In Japan, U.S. Air Force Airman First Class David Hinojosa Jr. is stationed at Yokota Air Base, which he described as “at the center of the recovery.” And, amid tsunami warnings in Hawaii, Morgan Faulkner was forced to flee to higher ground.
H i - nojosa, a 2009 graduate of Por t Aransas High School, was in his dorm room when the earthquake struck.
“It was a really weird feeling,”
Hin ojosa told the South Jetty in an e-mail. “ T h e whole build- ing was moving. At first, I could barely feel it. Then it started to get worse.”
But Hinojosa’s base wasn’t damaged. It’s about 180 miles from the quake’s epicenter.
Now the Air Force is helping with recovery efforts.
Hinojosa’s base hasn’t sent any personnel off the base to help, but it has delivered “tons of resources,” he said.
Those resources included “food, water, gas and tools,” Hinojosa said. “Commercial planes actually had to land on our base. We had to shelter two planes full of people overnight. I helped, setting up the place where they stayed.”
At press time, officials were fearing the possibility of a meltdown at a nuclear power plant that was damaged by the disaster. The plant is about 160 miles from Hinojosa’s base, he said.
“My upper leadership has started preparing in case of a meltdown,” Hinojosa said. “They are figuring out where families will go and where we will go in case of a meltdown.”
Faulkner, who splits his time between homes in Port Aransas and the North Shore of Oahu, said he was watching a movie on TV in his North Shore home during the evening when he started hearing tsunami warning sirens.
“I didn’t know anything was going on,” said Faulkner, who lives alone. “I turned on the news and saw the video of the tsunami just wiping out Japan. It was pretty much the scariest thing as far as a natural disaster I’ve ever seen. I just jumped up and started packing stuff, because we didn’t have a lot of time. Those things usually travel fast.”
Coastal portions of all of the Hawaiian Islands were being evacuated for higher ground. Faulkner’s house is only about 100 yards from the beach, so he was one of the folks who had to get going.
Many people took the evacuation orders seriously, Faulkner said.
“You could see cars flying up and down the road,” he said. “Everyone was just panicking. Huge lines started forming at the gas station right by my house.”
Faulkner and other residents of his community headed to a residential area high up the side of an Oahu mountain. Luckily, Faulkner had a friend he was able to stay with up on that high ground. He remained there from midnight to 8 a.m.
The tsunami, which arrived that night, didn’t end up being as large as first feared. When he got home in the morning, Faulkner couldn’t see any effects in his neighborhood, he said. Down the road, however, a number of boats sank in the Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor. A home was reportedly dragged into a bay off one island, and dozens of boats and piers were pushed around in other areas, according to a news report.
Hinojosa is the son of Rebecca and David Hinojosa Sr.
Faulkner is the son of Mary Goldsmith of Port Aransas and Ron Faulkner of Houston
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