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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 5:17 p.m., Tuesday, March 14, 2006

One dead, 7 missing after Kaua'i dam burst

 •  Governor to hold Kaua'i town hall meeting
 •  Fund set up for Kaua'i flood victims
 •  State Urban Search and Rescue teams mobilized
 •  Emergency declaration issued on Kaua'i
 •  National Guard teams responding to Kaua'i
 •  Red Cross opens evacuation centers
 •  Rain tallies show drenching on Kaua'i's Mount Waialeale
 •  Find and connect with Kaua'i relatives and friends

Advertiser Staff

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The Kaloko Reservoir on Kauai'i's North Shore breached at 7:30 this morning, spilling 300 million gallons of water.

BRUCE ASATO | The Honolulu Advertiser


Officials this afternoon were urging residents in the area of Morita Reservoir to evacuate due to concerns that Morita might breach. Morita sits downstream of Kaloko Reservoir, which breached this morning.

BRUCE ASATO | The Honolulu Advertiser


After the Kaloko Reservoir dam on Kaua'i burst this morning, flood waters jumped the once-vegetated ridge of Wailapa Stream and ripped off its vegetation.

JAN TENBRUGGENCATE | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Emergency crews work to clear trees from Kuhio Highway at Wailapa, where flood water overwhelmed drainage systems and blew across the road.

JAN TENBRUGGENCATE | The Honolulu Advertiser

County and civil defense officials were urging residents in the area of Morita Reservoir, which sits downstream of Kaloko Reservoir in Kilauea on Kaua'i, to evacuate due to concerns that Morita might breach.

Earlier, Kaloko Reservoir on Kauai'i's North Shore breached, spilling 300 million gallons of water.

One person was found dead, seven people were reported missing and at least two houses were swept away, state and county civil defense officials said.

The Coast Guard reported that one body was found about a mile from shore. The body was transported to the Kaua'i Medical Examiner's Office.

The Coast Guard continued searching the waters off the flood area.

The breach of the 400-million-gallon Kaloko Reservoir caused water to cover a 100-yard swath of Kuhio Highway between mile marker 21 and 22, near the vicinity of Wailapa Road. Vehicles are unable to pass in either direction, county civil defense officials said.

Officials with Coast Guard base Sand Island, which sent a C-130 Hercules and H-65 Dolphin helicopter to Kaua'i, said it received a report from the Kaua'i Fire Department of seven people unaccounted for. Kaua'i fire officials did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment.

The Coast Guard continued to search a two-mile area around Kilauea Stream and Kilauea Bay for people who may have been swept downstream after the dam broke, the Coast Guard said.

Hawai'i Air and Army National Guardsmen on Kaua'i have been activated.

Emergency workers on Kaua'i are also working to divert water from the Waita Reservoir on the Garden Island's South shore. The Waita Reservoir is the largest man-made reservoir in the state and near is near the town of Koloa.

A spokeswoman in the Kaua'i Mayor's office said three emergency shelters were opened at Kilauea Neighborhood Center and Kula School on the north end and at Kalaheo Neighborhood Center on the south end.

Civil Defense officials are urging Koloa residents who live near the Waikomo Stream to evacuate to the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.

A water main along Wailapa Road also has broken so residents in the area are urged to conserve water. Those affected by the waterline break are being served with portable water by Department of Water personnel

Residents of the Wailapa area said they heard the noise of the flood about 5:30 a.m., and that the water came fast and stayed high for at least an hour.

"It sounded like 10 jet engines come at us from that direction," said Wailapa Road resident Olivia Gulish. "It was pitch black. But you could see this huge crest coming toward us."

A nearby resident, Ken Koeller, said the water and debris came within 10 feet of the house where he lived.

"They say when you hear a freight train, run. I did," he said.

A few hours later, Koeller was among searchers climbing through the flood debris, looking for victims. He found construction debris, refrigerators, family photographs and bedding.