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News Release


PITCAIRN ISLAND, SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN, May 12, 2009 ---- Pitcairn Island is today (May 12) struggling to recover from night-time hurricane-force winds on Friday, May 8, which sent small buildings flying off their foundations, broke windows, damaged all the island's banana groves, and plucked hundreds of oranges from fruit trees.

"It was quite a whopper," said Pitcairner Kari Young. "It was the dreaded Headache wind, that is from the direction of Headache (a named geographical spot on the island) in Tedside (a section of land on the island's northwestern side). That's how the Headache wind is, chasing itself up and down Pitcairn's valleys."

According to island reports, the vicious wind reached its height between 11 p.m, on Thursday (May 7) and 2 a.m., Friday (May 8.)

Several small buildings wrecked during the storm included a copper tooling shed owned by Andrew Christian "which simply disappeared," and a fuel shed owned by Pitcairn Mayor Michael Warren which was lifted from its foundation and hurled by the wind down a nearby valley.

The hurricane-force storm that struck Pitcairn Island plucked hundreds of mandarin oranges from trees, scattering them on to roadways into underbrush. The fruit is important for local consumption and for sale elsewhere. (Photo by Michael Warren)

Sea conditions surrounding Pitcairn during the storm were unusually dangerous. One Pitcairner, watching the stormy ocean in the moonlight, said he saw whitecaps riding the huge waves along the entire island coast, a scene of oceanic intensity he had never seen before at Pitcairn.

Those on the island said it will be months before Pitcairn's important banana groves will return to normal. Islanders are now in the process of repairing damaged buildings, and clearing away the thousands of drowned tree branches that litter the island.


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