(UPI) Authorities in Honolulu are looking into a surreal incident in which a boulder smashed through the living room of a new suburban home, narrowly missing the family who had only recently moved in.
Caroline Sasaki, narrowly escaped being seriously injured or killed when the 5-foot boulder came smashing through the wall of her living room in Palolo, just as she was walking into the room to watch television, KTIV 4 Island News reported.
"All I heard was the boom when the glass cracked from the sliding door, so I backed up and I guess it passed right through me," Sasaki said.
The boulder smashed through the cinderblock outer wall, hit the family's car, before taking out a glass door, crossing the living room, going through another wall and ending up in a bedroom on the second floor, according to the Honolulu Police Department.
The frightening incident, which occurred just before midnight Saturday, was all captured on a security camera in the living room.
"I haven't watched the video, but they said if I took one more step, I probably wouldn't be here," Sasaki said.
The 65-year-old believes her bad leg may have saved her life. The leg means she can only walk slowly, something she believes may have actually prevented her being in the path of the boulder when it exploded into the room.
Sasaki is convinced the boulder came from excavation work at a development project on the side of the valley above her home. She says she has been pressing city leaders to stop the development.
"I was in fear of this happening from before, from when they started," Sasaki said.
She added that while for now she is just happy to still be alive, her narrow escape has stiffened her resolve the get the development halted.
KTIV 4 news reported that the Honolulu Fire Department had received a report from another resident of a 2-foot boulder hitting a wall bordering his property.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the city planning office said its initial investigation showed the permits for the project required an engineering slope hazard report by the developer due to the proposed excavation work, which the developer had provided. The report recommended several rock fall mitigation measures, including a 10-foot-high rock fall barrier fencing, and an anchored wire mesh system to stabilize the rock slope.
City officials determined that the required rock fall barrier fencing did not meet specifications in the approved building permit and said a stop-work order and notice of violation would be issued. But they didn't conclude that the issue caused or allowed the boulder to damage Sasaki's home.
''DPP's investigation is ongoing, and the City is unable to determine any wrongdoing by the developer at this time," Dawn Takeuchi Apuna, director of the Department of Planning and Permitting, said in a statement. "It would be irresponsible and premature to point any fingers at any particular party, landowner or event without knowing the full details of what has occurred. We will provide more details as they develop.''
City officials have notified Sasaki that she can begin emergency repairs to her house immediately.
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