HONOLULU, Hawaii (KHON) — A large boulder smashed into a Hawaii family’s home and nearly hit one of the owners.
Community members are raising concerns about a nearby development in Palolo that excavated the mountain. They said there were no boulders rolling down the valley before the development, and now, they have experienced three boulders coming down within 24 hours.
It was the closest of calls for Palolo resident Caroline Sasaki. A massive boulder went right through her home and barely missed her Saturday night.
“Today, I am a little better, but last night, I was very shaken,” said Sasaki, adding that it was hard to sleep. “I really didn’t know what happened except for the loud boom.”
Sasaki, who grew up in the neighborhood and had just returned with her family about a week ago after their new home was built, said large boulders rolling down the hill are not common.
“We lived in this same location. We just knocked down the old house and rebuilt it, and it’s never happened before — heavy rain and hurricane warnings, nothing. So, no rocks ever came down,” Sasaki said. “We’ve had some issues with them carving the mountain, and I don’t know if that’s the cause.”
Other longtime residents agreed. They said what has changed is a home development project and the carving of the mountain behind Sasaki’s home.
The development owner Bingning Li said his project and the boulder incidents are not connected.
“Not at all, this is from way above. I looked at one of those rocks about 50 feet away from on top of the property and landed over there and then made its way down here,” Li said. “So it hit one of the cables that was supposed to stop it and the cable snapped. That took a lot of energy away. Otherwise, this damage would be way more.”
Li said he will bring engineers to inspect the project and reinforce a barrier wall along his project.
In the meantime, concerned residents want answers before someone gets hurt.
“Department of Permitting and Planning, the Department of Emergency Management, the mayor, the councilman,” Sasaki said. “They should all get involved because people’s lives are at stake.”