State begins major overhaul at Kona Airport after power outageUPDATED 8:41 PM HST Apr 17, 2014Video Transcript
Its been exactly two months since about the Kona airport was plunged into darkness after emergency generators fail to switch on following a power outage. It affected a thousand passengers in the terminal, and the problem happened not once, but twice in one week. KITV4's Catherine Cruz traveled to the Big Island to find out what caused the airport emergency, and what's being done to keep it from happening again. It's a KITV4 exclusive... 02-06 35-38 131-136 - CRUZ : "If you are like most travelers you probably dont give backup generators much thought. At least until something happens. Passengers who were just touching down on an Alaska Airlines flight from Seatle remember what it was like at 10:30 pm when the runway and terminal lights went dark. - Celeste 49:53 - 50 -"I was thinking this was a dangerous situation and it makes me reluctant to fly back to Kona I hope they get this situation straightened out," The airport manager admits when the emergency power failed to kick in it put the six planeloads of passengers in jeopardy. - Chauncey 14:39 -"We dodged a bullet. No doubt" we dodged the bullet. We dodged the bullet. Passengers on board at time say the chaos included the bathrooms. - ELLEN 44:19 -44:31 - "That was completely darkened so we used our cell phones to get to the stall.- 444:26 - Then the toliets wouldnt flush and we went to wash our hands and the water wouldnt come on 44:31 - When Wong Yuen got the call at 11pm that night. he called the fire department for help and then went to hardware store to buy a thousand dollars worth of emergency lights. - 22 13-22:15 NATS "There is a battery that kicks in here. Just the one in here? Just the one." Wong Yuen was surprised to learn the faulty switchgear was first flagged a year ago, but he was never told. He was doubly distressed to learn the last time the system was inspected was last June--when its supposed to get checked every other month. Wong Yuen accepts responibility for not running a tighter ship but he said he is considering diciplinary action against staff for allowing this to fall through the cracks. Upon closer inspection this month a private contractor specializing in high voltage work discovered this piece that was damaged by arcing likely caused by rain blowing through this ceiling vent. It has since been sealed and the faulty pieces replaced. This airport manager will keep this damaged device a reminder of the close call...as the state gins j overhaul the 44 year old facility. - UPPER last ke? - "The buildout of na airport is expected take about a decade. But officials say this incident like this will likely mnetting a placement backup nerator system in place ppen sooner than lar Kona, Catherine u TV4 news e state is soliciting ds fromutside ectrical firms to help conduct the regular inspections to preven ture problems. Y can tune in tomorrow as we take a closer look at the modeization plan for na airport. Remarkably, there have only been two other power outages at that airport in the last ten years. One happened in 2012, the second was the result of a major earthquake in 2006.