U.S. TV presenter Jimmy Kimmel was evacuated from his hotel in Bora Bora in the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami as tidal wave warnings were issued to islands across the Pacific.
The host was enjoying a trip to French Polynesia with his girlfriend Molly when a massive earthquake struck Japan on Friday (11Mar11) and caused a devastating ocean swell which swept inland and claimed the lives of thousands of residents.
The incident sparked tsunami warnings across the Pacific and Kimmel was among a number of holidaymakers evacuated from the resort of Bora Bora.
Kimmel has described the incident in an article written for The Huffington Post, revealing he has long suffered nightmares about tidal waves and the tsunami warning appeared to confirm his worst fears.
He writes, "I operate under the (logical) presumption that tsunamis never strike while one is talking about them or even soon after. So, to keep us safe, from the moment we touched down in Tahiti, I talked about tsunamis non-stop... At 5:00 pm on Thursday March 10... we go back to the room where my computer informs me that an enormous earthquake has hit Japan. I dread what's next. A tsunami warning is issued for the islands of Hawaii... Then I find what I was hoping I wouldn't: 'Tsunami Warning for Pacific Area.'...
"At 4:30am, the phone in my hut rang and the guy wasn't laughing. We were to be evacuated immediately. 'Bring only your valuables!'"
The couple, along with other guests and hotel staff, was evacuated by boat and taken to another island where they climbed a hill and waited for the tsunami to hit. The wave, which Kimmel describes as "a ripple roughly the size of a peanut M&M", was minimal when it eventually reached the shore and Kimmel and his girlfriend were taken back to the resort.
He adds, "The ordeal was over... The hotel manager warned us not to get in the water because the current was strong, but otherwise, it was another perfect day in paradise... We were and are very lucky, almost shamefully so... The minor scare I experienced gave me a glimpse of the intense horror Japan is still experiencing. Help them if you can. Give to the American Red Cross here and send your good wishes and prayers Japan's way."
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