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Major Earthquake Hits Hawaii

Sun, Oct 15, 2006 at 2:43:17 pm

Quake knocks out power across Hawaii.

HONOLULU - A strong earthquake shook Hawaii early Sunday, causing a landslide that blocked a major highway on Hawaii Island and knocking out power across the state, authorities said. Gov. Linda Lingle issued a disaster declaration for the entire state.

The state Civil Defense had unconfirmed reports of injuries, but communication problems prevented more definite reports. People were also trapped in elevators in Oahu, authorities said.

Lingle said in a radio interview with KSSK from Hawaii Island that she had no report of any fatalities. She said boulders fell on highways, rock walls collapsed and television had been knocked off stands.

“We were rocking and rolling,” said Anne LaVasseur, who was on the second floor of a two-story, wood-framed house on the east side of the Big Island when the temblor struck. “I was pretty scared. We were swaying back and forth, like King Kong’s pushing your house back and forth.”

The quake hit at 7:07 a.m. local time, 10 miles north-northwest of Kailua Kona, a town on the west coast of the Big Island, said Don Blakeman, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center, part of the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Pacific Tsunami Center reported a preliminary magnitude of 6.5, while the U.S. Geological Survey gave a preliminary magnitude of 6.6. It was followed by several strong aftershocks, including one measuring a magnitude of 5.8, the Geological Survey said.