An earthen dam burst on Kauai, sending a 50-foot (15-meter) wave into the Pacific Ocean, sweeping away at least two houses and washing out the only road along the island's north shore. One person was killed and as many as seven others were reported missing.
The Kaloko Reservoir dam gave way Tuesday without warning after days of heavy rain. The swath of devastation, which witnesses described as a reverse tsunami flowing from the hills to the ocean, cut off access to and from thousands of rural houses and luxury condominiums.
Search crews recovered the body of an unidentified male about 30 years old hours after the dam broke.
The Coast Guard was still searching for three to seven people but its C-130 plane and HA-65 helicopter were returning to Oahu for the evening, said Coast Guard spokesman Michael De Nyse. It was not clear if the aircraft would return to the scene to resume the search in the morning.
The Coast Guard also had several ships looking for the missing.
The Kaloko dam, about 40 feet (12 meters) high and 1,800 feet (540 meters) long, captured runoff from small streams. Authorities estimated the reservoir's capacity at 1,400 acre-feet, enough water to cover 1,400 acres (560 hectares) a foot (0.3 meters) deep. That amounts to more than 60 million cubic feet.
Debris from the wall of water could be seen clinging to electrical wires. The surge uprooted tall trees, taking out garages, sheds and massive dirt embankments, reports the AP.
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