A charter boat captain who spotted a swordfish swimming in relatively shallow water in a harbour popular with tourists jumped in and speared the fish – only for the injured swordfish to turn around and fatally skewer the fisherman with its sword.
The extraordinary and horrific event was reported at the weekend by Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).
The swordfish attack occurred in Honokohau small boat harbour on Hawaii Island, DNLR reported. Saltwater fishing is a popular recreational and tourist activity in Hawaii and the US state’s numerous harbours, including Honokohau, are filled with boats, many of which are used for fishing.
The dead man was later identified as Randy Llanes, a keen local fisherman and tourist charter boat skipper with a formidable reputation.
Just before 11am, Llanes reportedly sighted a swordfish swimming in the back area of the harbour near the DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR), the department stated.
DOBOR staff and witnesses say Llanes immediately leapt into the water and speared the fish. The fish then reportedly turned and impaled him in the chest with its sharp bill (sword). Swordfish are extremely agile and among the fastest of all fish – some reports put their top speed at over 80km/h.
Onlookers pulled Llanes from the harbour unresponsive. He was rushed to hospital but pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
The swordfish measured about one-metre in body length, with a sword length of an additional metre, so two metres all up. The sword is about the same length as a cavalry sabre. The fish weighed about 18 kilograms.
Kalina Llanes, sister-in-law of the deceased, told local TV channel KITV-4 the dead man had been a “tough guy”.’
“He was such a tough guy that everyone’s scared of him, the whole harbour’s scared of him.” She added, however, that those who knew Llanes were not scared of him because he had such a big heart.
KITV showed a gruesome image of the fish, covered in blood, lying dead at the water’s edge.
Written by Peter Needham