More Never Released Pictures of the Aftermath of the 1960 Hilo Tsunami

Charles Hansen has sent me more pictures of the aftermath of the 1960 Hilo Tsunami.

I’ve enclosed his thoughts of the events below the pictures:

Huge slabs of broken concrete litter the street.

These parking meters were bent toward the ocean, apparently from the backwash, as I walked by.

Young boys casually walk past the damaged Hilo Iron Works building possible unaware of the magnitude of what has happened.

A man stands not far from a large tree that was snapped like a toothpick some 15′ above the ground. The newspaper reported that many of the boat owners took to the open waters of the ocean to avoid being swept ashore.

This home apparently was torn from it’s foundation.

Huge boulders were strewn about the streets.

I’d like to say Mahalo to Mr. Hansen for sending these pictures.  I’ll be posting more over the next few days.


I’ve been receiving more photographs of the aftermath of the 1960 Hilo Tsunami that have never been released before… so I’m opening up a new tab for these pictures as they come in at the top of my site in case anyone misses any of them.

This is part III of photos being sent to me about the 1960 aftermath of the Hilo Tsunami. Feel free to click on the tab above to view more pictures:

Large boulders, mud, silt and debris covered the main shopping district street.

Main street Hilo, several young boys examine one of many new Plymouth’s that were washed from their showroom. The Hilo Theater is in the background left.

It was reported that curious onlookers went to this bridge to watch the incoming tsunami (Bob Lawson worked w/ Mr. Hansen on these)

We had been shopping in these shops the day before. Now the shopkeepers were trying to salvage what remained of their goods. The streets were littered with debris and electrical wires.

We had shopped in this store the day before. The store had been full of goods neatly stacked on shelving, in rows, 6′ high. I noticed that a few, apparently untouched, items remained on high shelves (see left and right walls).

South view, looking toward the Hilo Theater

Aloha Damon,
You will notice that I have included a few photos that are copyrighted “Bob Lawson.”
Bob Lawson was my partner that day. We have always shared pictures and especially when they included us. If you see his copyright…and in that picture is someone carrying a camera, or two, or three camera’s…well that be me! I believe there will be a total of three pictures like that in the entire set. In addition and at my request, Bob did send one additional photo to ad to my submissions.

MORE NEWLY RELEASED Photos of the Aftermath of the 1960 Hilo Tsunami

I put a video up the other day that former Navy Military Photographer Charles Hansen put together of some of the pictures that he took of the aftermath of the  1960 Hilo Tsunami.  (He was granted access as a military photographer)

Mr. Hansen has been kind enough to grant me access to more of his photographs he recently decided to start digitizing.  You may click on the images for larger images, but you may not reproduce these images per Mr. Hansen.

Here is the first batch of pictures he has sent in along with the dialog that went along with the pictures.  Hopefully he will continue to send them as he has time.

This was the military rest camp where we stayed located up in the mountains

This was my first observations of the damage that had been caused hours before. This seemed to be the highest point that the wave reached. At the time, I wondered what the damage on the lower ground would be like

Citizens were milling about with great concern and anguish. Officials were probing the debris looking for missing persons

We moved closer to the center of town to get a closer look. There was security (National Guard?) preventing entry and what appeared to be officials that were making reports of the damage

We were able to gain access to the main destruction zone. It was an erie experience as we had been shopping in this same area the day before and now it looked as if a huge bomb had exploded. The main street next to the waterfront was filled with sand, silt, seaweed and huge boulders. I remember that there were many unbroken bottles of wine and beverage laying in the silt. These bent parking meters signaled me that there had been a night of horror.