On the second day of their holiday vacation, President Obama and the First Family went hiking Sunday morning on the Makiki loop trail at the Hawaii Nature Center. The motorcade left their Kailua vacation home around 10:45 a.m.
KHON2 was there as the presidential motorcade left Makiki after the hike, and just in time, because as soon after the First Family and most of the motorcade departed, a tree fell, blocking the road and hitting a parked truck.
While we weren’t allowed inside the area while the president and his family were hiking, once they left, we went to the nature center to see if anyone saw the president.
There is only one road to get in and out of the center, and a short time later, a tree fell, blocking the road.
Nature center volunteers saw the president. “We were just so excited,” said Francis Oshiro. “I’m really so happy to see him, you know?”
Hikers who visit this trail on a daily basis said they had no idea the First Family was there. Only people who live in the area were allowed to drive through, but anyone walking by was welcome to go on the hike.
Andrew Pishchalenko said “I asked the guy what was going on and he couldn’t tell me anything and Obama just popped out and was like ‘hey, Merry Christmas.'”
Approximately 15-20 minutes after the presidential motorcade left the area, a tree came crashing down on top of a truck. It knocked down some power lines and blocked the road.
Truck owner Kala Kaawa said “we parked my (truck), headed home, and then two minutes later, we heard a big crash .”
Kaawa said he always parks in this spot. “It was just windy and you just heard a big crash and I came outside and saw the power line down.”
Some of the people traveling with the President, including Secret Service agents, who were blocked in, borrowed tools to cut down the branches so they could get out to rejoin the motorcade.
“Good thing it happened when it did and not 15 minutes earlier,” Kaawa said.
He later said HECO workers came by this evening and moved the wires, but his truck is still underneath that tree.
And as for the president’s motorcade, it arrived back at the Kailua house about 1:20 p.m.