HONOLULU – A Hawaii man was killed Friday after he was apparently impaled by the bill of a fish, officials said.
Witnesses at Honokohau Harbor in Kailua-Kona reported that a man in his 40s jumped from the pier in an apparent attempt to catch a billfish, said West Hawaii Acting Battalion Chief John Whitman of Hawaii County's fire department.
The fish was a swordfish about 3 feet long with a bill about 3 feet, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said in a statement. It weighed about 40 pounds.
"All we know is next thing they know, the man is seen floating," said Whitman. Firefighters tried to resuscitate the man, who had a puncture wound to his right, upper torso. The man was taken to Kona Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Whitman said.
"If you mess with them they defend themselves pretty good"
- Chief John Whitman of Hawaii County's fire department
Hawaii County police identified the victim as 47-year-old Randy Llanes of Kailua-Kona.
A witness told the fire department the man shot the fish with a spear gun.
Hawaii County police and state conservation officers are investigating the incident.
Whitman said this isn't the first time he's heard of billfish fatally impaling someone. "They are very aggressive animals," he said. "If you mess with them they defend themselves pretty good."
Whitman says the man was later seen floating and firefighters responded to the scene. Whitman says the man had a puncture wound to his right, upper torso. The man was taken to Kona Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Whitman estimates the fish was about 30 pounds. He says that type fish has a bill that can be up to a foot long.
The man's identity has not been released.