Rayne’s ‘Boo’ LeBlanc finds himself in path of tsunami
By PAUL KEDINGER
A Rayne man unexpectedly found himself in the path of a tsunami triggered by the massive earthquake in Japan Thursday night.
Contacted Friday afternoon by cellphone in Honolulu, Hawaii, Gerhard “Boo” LeBlanc told the Rayne Acadian-Tribune he was told to stay inside his hotel after his airplane arrived about 10 p.m. Hawaii time.
“They put us on the third floor,” said LeBlanc, which was high enough to survive potential high waves associated with the tsunami predicted to hit the island about 3:07 a.m.
“It hit about 3:50 a.m., reported the Interco Tire Corporation employee.
LeBlanc arrived in Hawaii to participate in a trade show staged by Transamerican Wholesale of California scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
He reported his hotel was located near the beach.
After the tsunami reached the Hawaiian Islands, he discovered about 20 to 30 boats torn from their piers and floating in a nearby bay.
He said his children, Hailey, Hudson and Holden, reached him by cellphone at approximately 7 a.m. (3 a.m. Hawaii time) to check on their father before leaving home to attend classes at Rayne Catholic Elementary.
The son of Alfred “Popcorn” LeBlanc of Rayne called his father early Friday morning to tell him that he was safe because he knew the tsunami would be on the news. “He told me ‘Good Luck,’” recounts Boo.
LeBlanc said he has been answering telephone calls from friends across the world.
Asking what his first thoughts were as he faced the approaching wall of water, LeBlanc said his greatest fear was not knowing where it was coming from.
Comparing his experience with advance warnings issued about hurricanes, LeBlanc said, “You know where those are coming from.”
Because a tsunami would strike all sides of the island state, LeBlanc admitted he was very aware, “There is no good side to be on.”
LeBlanc expects to return to Rayne late Monday evening, most certainly with a wealth of stories to related about his encounter with a tsunami.