A charter boat captain in Kona, Hawaii died on Friday after being impaled in the chest by a 40-pound swordfish. According to KHON2, 47-year-old Randy Llanes spotted a broadbill swordfish in Hobokohau Harbor and decided to go in after it with a speargun. Harbor employees and witnesses watched as Llanes dove into the water and speared the fish, but it had gotten tangled up in a mooring anchor. As the fish struggled to break free, it surged forwards towards Llanes and struck him in the upper chest with its three-foot bill.
Onlookers dragged the fisherman from the water and he later died at Kona Community Hospital.
The death shocked many in the local angling community as well as those who knew Llanes. Born and raised in Hawaii, Llanes was a seasoned angler and had been a charter boat captain for the past 18 years. He leaves behind a wife and young son.
“Randy would do anything for you, he would take his shirt off his back for you. That’s the kind of guy he was,” Bomboy Llanes, a cousin of the victim, told KITV.
Experts say that while swordfish can be dangerous, fatalities are usually very rare. In fact, only a handful of swordfish-related deaths have ever been documented. Contrary to popular belief, a swordfish’s long bill is not usually used to impale, but rather to slash through schooling fish in order to stun prey. Still, many anglers are cautious around these acrobatic creatures. Weighing up to 600 pounds, broadbill swordfish can become what is essentially a very sharp torpedo. Hooked swordfish have been known to jump aboard boats.
These creatures, along with the numerous other fish species that call Hawaii waters home, are what drew Llanes to become involved in sportfishing.
“Hawaii is one of those rare places where sea monsters still exist and world records can still be broken,” he wrote on his website.
“My greatest pleasure is being able to share the excitement and natural wonder of the Hawaiian offshore fishing experience with others,” Llanes added.
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