Big Island visitors die on Kaua’i roads

Two visitors from the Big Island are the fourth and fifth people to die in traffic accidents on Kaua’i this year.

The driver of a Chrysler sport-utility vehicle from the Big Island suffered only minor injuries after he apparently lost control of the vehicle he was driving, hit a guardrail on Kuhio Highway, and landed in the Hanalei River, county officials said in a press release.

The driver, 25, who was not identified, was transported to Wilcox Memorial Hospital, treated and released, after the early-morning crash yesterday.

The vehicle became completely submerged, and passengers Christopher Ferguson, 35, and Christopher Kaupu-Kuahiwinui, 19, both from the Big Island, were trapped inside the vehicle, and drowned, officials said.

The vehicle had been traveling southbound on Kuhio Highway, approaching the Hanalei bridge, at around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, when the accident occurred.

Kaua’i Fire Department rescue specialists from the Princeville fire station entered the river and retrieved the bodies of the victims.

Kaua’i Police Department officers said speed and alcohol may be factors in the crash.

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