VANCOUVER -- A Canadian Olympic bobsledder was evacuated to higher ground Friday to avoid the tsunami in Hawaii.
Summerland, B.C.'s Justin Kripps was in a hotel room by the Ali'l Drive beachfront during a surfing holiday in Kona when the tsunami alert was broadcast.
"I didn't really know what to expect because they started showing the clips of Honshu (Japan)," Kripps told QMI. "It was pretty nasty there."
The 24-year-old was evacuated a half-mile uphill. He said people took refuge at a Safeway grocery store parking lot where several distraught Japanese tourists were frantically using a payphone.
Kripps returned to the waterfront and found patio furniture, garbage cans, coral and rocks strewn about.
"The waves came over the (seawall) and flooded the street," Kripps said.
Kripps, who was born in Na'alehu, Hawaii, had experienced many tsunami drills as a child in Hawaii.
"It's eerie hearing the big tsunami sirens, they're like air raid sirens," he said.
Kripps was in Canada's fifth-place four-man bobsled at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He trained at the Whistler Sliding Centre last month before traveling to Hawaii on Mar. 3 via Los Angeles.