Fishing News

Kona Charter Captain Dies After Swordfish Attack

Capt. Randy Llanes, 47, skipper of the charterboat Sundowner, was killed in a freak accident at Honokau Harbor Friday. Shortly before 11:00 a.m., Randy was in the southeast corner of the harbor near where he moors his boat when he spotted a broadbill swordfish swimming in the shallow water nearby.  

Randy donned flippers and jumped into the water with a spear gun to spear the broadbill.  After Randy speared it, the broadbill wrapped the spear line around a mooring line and circled back toward Randy. It attacked ​him and impaled him in the chest. A crew member from a nearby Zodiac dive boat jumped in to assist after noticing that Randy had been injured. The crew of the Zodiac pulled Randy from the water and took him to a nearby fuel dock where bystanders attempted first aid until firefighters arrived. Aid workers were unable to restart his heart at the dock and then took him to the Kona Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

An autopsy conducted three days after the accident confirmed that Llanes died from internal injuries caused by the bill puncture.

The broadbill was retrieved and examined on the dock. It weighed approximately 40 pounds​ with an overall length of about 6 feet, half of which was the long sword. Broadbills are unheard of in the harbor, though June and July are the months when they are most common offshore.

The broadbill swordfish is armed with a very lethal weapon and is known to be very aggressive. There are historic accounts of swordfish attacks on boats. One famous account from the 1960s involves a broadbill that rammed its sword into a seam on the submersible research vessel Alvin. The Alvin was raised successfully with the broadbill still attached.

Story by Jim Rizzuto