Tuna capsized boat, Coast Guard rescues fisherman

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   July 22, 2013 at 5:18 PM  |  Updated July 22, 2013 at 7:04 PM   |   Comments

July 22 (UPI) -- A Hawaiian man took on a massive tuna and won -- but not before nearly losing his boat and his life.

Anthony Wichman, a 54-year-old fisherman, battled with a 230-pound Ahi for more than an hour, capsizing the boat and pulling him over in the process.

"He gaffed it once in the back, and the second gaffe went straight into the fish's eye and that caused the fish to take a final dive," said Anuhea Wichman, whose father called her, gasping as he struggled with the fish. "And [the fish] dove straight down, and the line wrapped around my dad's ankle and pulled him overboard."

Anuhea Wichman called the Coast Guard, who used Anthony Wichman's cell phone signal to track him down. A rescue diver dropped from a helicopter and pulled him up, escaping with just some bruises and rope burn.

Abraham Apilado and Jordan Ornellas, friends of the Wichmans, hurried to Anthony Wichman's boat and towed it to shore with giant fish still attached.

“When the Coast Guard found him, I was still about three or four miles away. I could see the helicopter hovering over his position,” Apilado said. "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."

Anuhea Wichman said her father asked Apilado and Ornellas to keep the fish as a token of his appreciation.

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