A 54-year-old angler has almost lost his life trying to reel in a tuna fish weighing 230 lb (104 kg).Anthony Wichman of Kuai was in Hawaii on Friday, July 19, when his boat capsized as it was knocked over by the giant ahi.
“In his mind, he thought he was dying, that he was gone. But he thought about his family, thought about his first grandson, which is my son. That was his motivation. He had to survive,” his daughter Anuhea Wichman describes for KHON2.
He had his foot tangled in the rope attached to the fish, and it pulled him overboard, overturning the vessel.
“He gaffed it once in the back and once in the eye and that caused the fish to take a final dive and he drove straight down. The line wrapped around my dad’s ankle and pulled him overboard,” Anuhea recalls.
It was an hour-long struggle to break free and use a waterproof phone to call his daughter and tell her to bring the Coast Guard.
“All I could hear was him hyper-ventilating and puking. And through his breathing, he was able to say three words: sinking, Coast Guard, and buoy,” Anuhea detailed.
The man's boat was located 15 miles (24 km) away from the shoreline at that point, and he was on his own. He had to be airlifted and transported to a hospital.
“When the Coast Guard found him, I was still about three or four miles (4.8 – 6.5 km) away. I could see the helicopter hovering over his position,” fisherman “Aba G” Abraham Apilado says.
The witness helped tow Wichman’s boat to Port Allen, even as the fish was still attached to the line.
“We were both pulling the fish, put that buggah away first and continued salvaging whatever we could got all his reels and rod back to him,” Apilado said.