On April 1, 1946, the sea floor ruptured just south of Unimak Island in the Aleutian Islands. Seawater displaced by the giant earthquake sent a 100-foot wave into the Scotch Cape lighthouse on Unimak, destroying the concrete structure and killing the five men inside. They never knew what hit them in the 2 a.m. darkness.
The residents of Hilo, on Hawaii’s big island, were also unaware of the danger surging across the North Pacific. Four hours and 20 minutes after the big earthquake in the Aleutians, the first of several tsunami waves reached Hawaii.