A Kaneohe angler landed quite a fishing tale, even though he came home empty-handed. Forced to tread water for nearly six hours, he managed to survive with the help of his trusty canine companion.
Robert Stoner, 50, took his pet Doberman, Gypsy Girl, out on his 17-foot boat last Saturday. As he made a turn, one of his fishing lines became tangled around the propeller.
"I jumped in the water with my knife and she jumped in right behind me and just pushed the boat away instantly," said Stoner.
The former diving instructor didn't have a life vest on. He tried to swim back to the boat.
"I tried for at least 15, 20 minutes, but it was just going further and further and then I couldn't start to see her so I made the choice to go back and get her," explained Stoner.
Stoner held on to Gypsy Girl's life jacket. Some other boaters eventually noticed the empty vessel floating toward a coral reef.
"They towed it to the sandbar and asked everybody if they knew anybody whose boat this is and nobody knew," said Stoner.
The Good Samaritans also called the emergency contact numbers written on the boat. They reached Stoner's father who called 911.
"We could see all the blue lights out there so we knew the effort was taking place cause there was a number of different blue lights in the area and then eventually saw the Coast Guard helicopter," said Bill Stoner.
A Waterfront Operations team from Marine Corps Base Hawaii finally rescued the pair after spotting the life jacket's reflectors. Robert Stoner hopes others learn safety tips from his harrowing experience.
"In hindsight, I look at so many things I could have done different. I should have raised the engine. I could have cut the line right there," said Stoner.
Stoner is still in some pain since three fishing hooks ended up embedded in his foot, but he is grateful to all of his rescuers, especially his Gypsy Girl.
"She was not about to let us give up, give up hope," he said.