Man who died on job named

KALIHIWAI — The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation yesterday announced the name of a man who was killed working on the job this week.

Johnathan Hirata, 30, of Wailua, died after cutting down a tree near Kalihiwai bridge on the mauka side in Kilauea around 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Hirata had been part of the maintenance crew for more than seven years. His family was notified of his death Wednesday night.

“He was a man who was very hard-working and enthusiastic about his job,” Scott Ishikawa, HDOT spokesman, said.

Ishikawa flew to Kaua‘i yesterday to begin an internal investigation into the accident.

“I initially said he fell off the tree, but have learned that was not so,” Ishikawa said.

Hirata was killed after the tree he was cutting down with a chainsaw fell into another tree, which broke on impact. When the upper portion of the broken tree fell back onto the felled tree, the trunk spiked up and struck Hirata in the head.

He was pronounced dead on the scene, Ishikawa said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will conduct an investigation, standard when someone has died on the job.

At press time, no funeral arrangements had been announced.

• Amanda C. Gregg, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or agregg@kauaipubco.com.

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