Why Did Swordfish Stab a Fisherman in Hawaii?

The fish may have been trying to defend itself when it struck the man in a Hawaiian boat harbor.

The man, whom Hawaiian authorities identified as 47-year-old Randy Llane, died after being impaled in the chest by a swordfish he had just speared. The accident occurred in the Honokohau small boat harbor (map) on the Big Island of Hawaii, when Llane jumped into the water to go after the 6-foot (1.8-meter) long fish.

It's not unheard of for a swordfish to attack an animal or an object like a boat or research submersible, says Heidi Dewar, a fisheries research biologist with NOAA Fisheries in La Jolla, California. But reports of swordfish injuring or killing people are incredibly rare, she says.

"Normally, you wouldn't see a swordfish swimming around in the harbor," Dewar says. These are open-ocean animals that

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