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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 1, 2006

Waikiki banyan tree collapses on parked bus

 •  'It felt like the sky was falling'

By Catherine Toth
Advertiser Staff Writer

Water from a stream overflows a driveway separating two homes on the corner of Kalakaua Avenue and Philip Street.

GREGORY YAMAMOTO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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WAIKIKI A large banyan tree fell on a tour bus parked on Monsarrat Avenue between the Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Shell yesterday afternoon.

No passengers were on board.

The male driver, in his 60s, was taken to a nearby hospital due to elevated blood pressure, said Capt. Paul Merino of the city's Ocean Safety Division, which was first to respond.

That portion of Monsarrat was closed until city crews removed the tree, whose trunk was about 8 feet in diameter, Merino said.

The tree was partially uprooted, said city spokesman Mark Matsunaga. The bus roof was dented but there was no major damage.

Parts of Kapi'olani Park were under water yesterday. Adjacent sections of Kalakaua and Paki avenues also were inundated. About 2 p.m., two shirtless teens "surfed" the flood waters along Paki Avenue on bodyboards.

"That rain came down heavier than I've ever seen it in years," said Merino, whose office at the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium flooded.

Mud and rocks slid onto Diamond Head Road near the lighthouse in the townbound lane. The two-lane road was not closed, but drivers heading toward Waikiki had to veer into oncoming traffic to get around the debris.

Two six-man outrigger canoes parked along the Ala Wai Canal were dangerously close to sliding into the canal, as the water level rose to nearly the height of the bank on the mauka side.

Police closed Seaside Avenue by Kalakaua Avenue and part of Kalakaua Avenue near Kapi'olani Park because of flooding.

By 1 p.m. there were just two surfers waiting for waves at Queen's, a popular surf break off Kuhio Beach. There were no warning signs posted at Kuhio, Queens Surf and Kaimana beaches, though there were signs about polluted waters posted 'ewa of that area.