Survivors reflect on devastating tsunami that struck Hilo 75 years ago

  • Photo courtesy of the Bunji Fujimoto Collection This historic photo shows a railroad trestle damaged on the Kolekole Bridge by the April 1, 1946, tsunami.

  • Courtesy photo Railroad tracks and businesses along Hilo Bay were severely damaged by the April 1, 1946 tsunami.

  • Courtesy photo A locomotive could not withstand the fury of waves from the April 1, 1946, tsunami that hit Hilo.

  • Photo courtesy of the Waren Family Collection This historic photo shows damage to the iron bridge at Waiakea and a destroyed house washed off its foundation by the April 1, 1946, tsunami.

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Ramon Goya keeps a photograph of the Goya Brothers service station, which was located at the corner of Kamehameha and Bishop in 1946. Goya's grandparents were at the service station during the tsunami and survived, although the building was damaged.

  • Photo courtesy of Waren Family Collection This historic photo shows a ruined clothesline and house washed from its foundation by the April 1, 1946, tsunami.

  • The Bayfront business district was utterly devastated by the April 1, 1946, tsunami. (Courtesy photo/Pacific Tsunami Museum, James Kerschner Collection)

  • Ramon Goya stands outside his home in Hilo on Monday. Goya was almost 5 when he and his family survived the tsunami in 1946. (Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald)

  • Buildings and railroad tracks were destroyed and trains derailed and overturned by the April 1, 1946, tsunami. (Courtesy photo/Pacific Tsunami Museum, James Kerschner Collection)

  • Dozens of people in downtown Hilo run in a desperate attempt to avoid inundation by a tsunami wave on April 1, 1946. (Courtesy photo/Pacific Tsunami Museum)

The early morning of April 1, 1946, seemed at first to be the start of a normal Monday for residents of Hilo and surrounding villages.