HONOLULU (CBS/AP) – Waves up to 7 feet high hit Hawaii Friday morning after a massive earthquake struck in Japan.
Residents in coastal areas were sent to higher ground, and tourists at hotels in Waikiki were moved to upper floors as the tsunami approached.
Former WBZ-TV photographer Danny Marotta is on vacation there, staying in a hotel just 300 yards from Waikiki Beach.
Marotta said the ocean near him had been very active before sunrise, with the tide pulling way back on several occasions. But there was no significant flooding.
In an interview with WBZ-TV’s Sera Congi via Skype, he said receding waters are usually the first sign of trouble.
“When I saw that water recede the first time, I went ‘Uh oh!’ and I said ‘Here we go.’ I grabbed the camera and I was all set to bolt.”
But he didn’t have to leave. They were given the all-clear after sunrise.
“After looking at Japan,” he said, “the Hawaiian islands have dodged a bullet.”
WBZ-TV’s Sera Congi reports
Marotta talks to WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens
Marotta said police were patrolling the beaches in the middle of the night, hours before the waves came.
“They’ve got loudspeakers up and down the street. Every hour the tsunami horns will go off,” he told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 around 6:30 a.m. Boston time.
Tsunamis can travel at speeds of 500 mph, as fast as a jetliner. The warnings are issued due to the imminent threat of a tsunami.
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