Paso Robles family in Hawaii weathers the storm, SLO Co. charter jet delivers water to island

Posted at 10:19 PM, Aug 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-25 01:19:57-04

A Paso Robles family says they won’t soon forget their trip to Hawaii during the week of what was anticipated to be a major weather event.

Hurricane Lane was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday night, but disaster officials warned people to stay vigilant.

"When we got evacuated like at 1 a.m. that’s when the gusts started hitting," Fabian Hernandez said. "When we got back with the all clear, we came to our town home in Lahaina, that’s when we saw the uprooted trees and debris all over the place."

The family is safe but looking forward to their Monday flight back to wine country.

"We have all our family together and we’re sage and it’s going to be a vacation that’s unforgettable," Hernandez said.

The impending disaster is also unforgettable for a team of crew members from ACI Jet, a charter jet service in San Luis Obispo County.

A team delivered several hundred gallons of water to the island over the past 48 hours.

"A lot of people don’t know this about San Luis Obispo, but it’s one of the closest airports to Hawaii, oddly enough," ACI Jet Marketing Director John Tucker said. "If you look at it on a map, it actually makes a lot of sense. They call it the great circle route."

The crew members came in on a moment’s notice, according to ACI Jet’s Abe Degraw.

"We called it Operation Ohana, which in Hawaiian means family," Tucker said.

Along with the 400 gallons of water on board were several furry passengers.

"Our little bears we sent out, we call him Tarmac Teddy," Tucker said of the pilot themed stuffed animal.

ACI Jet paid for the water and gas, which quickly added up due to the weight of the water.

"We had to take on a lot of extra fuel, " Degraw said. "I think between the four flights we had, it was 16,000 gallons of fuel that we took on to get out there and get back."