Network look at Ka Loko tragedy

Christina “Sunny” Macnees was on television last night, happily pregnant talking about her soon-to-be-born child.

Clips of Aurora Fehring at her wedding followed.

The two died last year along with Alan Dingwall, Rowan Fehring-Dingwall, Daniel Arroyo, Timothy Noonan and Wayne Rotstein.

They were carried away March 14, 2006 by a wall of water released after the Ka Loko Dam breached.

Last night’s airing of the ABC network’s 20/20 special on the breach heralds the arrival of the one year anniversary of that tragedy.

The program was a national look at a very personal tragedy on the island of Kaua‘i.

Bruce and Cyndee Fehring were watching last night. The Fehring’s daughter, future son-in-law and grandson were among the seven who died.

“It’s difficult … this thing … the entire thing is very difficult. To relive the tragedy,” Fehring said. “It’s difficult to grasp how bad man can fail, and in the face of the evidence we saw tonight, to say that this is an act of nature, or an act of God is wrong … this is a failure of man,” Bruce Fehring said.

His wife Cyndee has stayed mostly out of the media glare. She was interviewed in the piece. The Fehring’s are currently embroiled in several lawsuits as a result of the breach.

One of the more difficult moments in the program was the interview with Kaua‘i resident Maryanne Kusaka. Kusaka was mayor of Kaua‘i from 1994 to 2002.

“The piece speaks for itself.” said 20/20 Producer Glenn Silber.

Special deputy Attorney General Robert Godbey’s independent report, released in January, revealed Kusaka, in 1997, ordered inspections of grading work on the Pflueger property stop. And though Pflueger has denied that there was ever a spillway on the dam on his property, evidence revealed, made it clear he knew it when the property was purchased.

The former mayor was confronted with the suggestion $9,000 was offered by Pflueger to stop grading inspections.

Fehring says he knows nothing about a bribe. “I can’t say… I wasn’t there at the time,” he said. “But for someone who acts the way that Pflueger does … For me, it’s harder to believe that a public official would accept that, if they did that is a travesty.”

Silber spent months here with different crews on Oa‘hu and Kaua‘i. “It is unfortunate for tragedies like this to make people realize how there are plenty of lessons that need to be learned,” Silber said from his home in New Jersey.

“It’s difficult to grasp how badly man or woman can fail, how they can not see the big picture or the ramifications of their actions,” Fehring said.

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