An earthen dam burst on Kauai, sending a 15m 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 on 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, aged about 30, 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, Coast Guard spokesman Michael De Nyse said. 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 captured runoff from small streams. Authorities estimated the reservoir's capacity at more than 1.7 million cubic meters.
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.