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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 3, 2010

Investigations continue in 2 visitors' deaths


By John Windrow
Advertiser Staff Writer

Two tourists who died Friday in Ka'a'awa one in an apparent drowning and the other in a single-car accident remained unidentified last night.

A 49-year-old man from Michigan who was snorkeling Friday afternoon was reported missing by his son at about 4:47 p.m. Rescue crews found him face-down in the water about 100 yards offshore at 5:45 p.m., according to a police report. Police said there were no signs of foul play.

The Michigan man was vacationing here with his wife, son and daughter, said Jessica Lani Rich of the Visitor Aloha Society.

The other death involved a family visiting Hawai'i from Tokyo.

The four people were in a gray 2009 four-door Pontiac heading south on Kamehameha Highway near Ka'a'awa Place at 4:40 p.m. A 50-year-old man was driving. The other passengers were a 47-year-old woman in the front passenger seat, a 17-year-old boy in the left rear seat and a 74-year-old woman in the right rear seat. The car veered to the right and ran into a guardrail post head-on.

The 74-year-old woman was dead at the scene.

Police said neither speed nor alcohol appeared to be factors. The two people in the front seat were wearing seat belts; those in the rear were not. No other vehicles were involved.

The other three people did not suffer serious injuries. They were treated at The Queen's Medical Center and reported to be in good condition.

Rich, who is president of the Visitor Aloha Society, said the society was aiding both families.

"The man who was driving the car was in our Waikk office yesterday at the same time as the Michigan family," she said.

"The wife of the man who was snorkeling reached out to the Japanese man and said to him, 'We have something in common. We have both suffered a loss.'

"He didn't understand what she said, but they both understood the language of 'we care.'

"It was touching to see their compassion for each other."

The death of the Japanese woman was O'ahu's first traffic fatality of 2010, compared with three at this time last year.