HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - An injured boat captain airlifted by the Coast Guard last week while more than 100 miles off the Kona coast is telling the story about what led up to the rescue.
Kenton Geer says he was hauling gear aboard his boat the Vicious Cycle last Tuesday when he was snagged by a massive hook and dragged across the deck.
The 39-year-old commercial fisherman has worked on the water more than two decades.
“It gets to the point where it’s not really an occupation,” Geer said.”It’s more of who you are.”
He says without the help of the Coast Guard he might not have made it back to shore alive.
“I think that there was a real possibility ... I could have bled to death,” Geer said. “Or be talking about not having a hand.”
A helicopter trip to the hospital is a ride no fisherman ever wants to take.
“I really didn’t want to get help,”Geer said.
But with a hook lodged into wrist and Hawaii Island 16 hours away, Geer was left with no other choice.
“I don’t know how superstitious you are but everything was going wrong that day,” he said. “I have this lucky hat that I’ve worn for 23 years. And for some reason I didn’t wear it.”
That morning, he says a hydraulic line blew. Then, they got into a tangle with a bunch of fish.
That’s when he says his wrist was skewered by the hook ― and all the while something massive was still yanking the line.
“I was trying to counter it with the hydraulics,” Geer said. “Next thing I know, something let go. My hand was ripped over my head. I was pulled up off the deck. And I was going backwards dragged by the hook.”
He says one of his deckhands stopped the line moments before his hand would have been crushed in a hauling block.
“There was just so much blood pouring out of my glove I thought, I’m going to bleed to death.”
An x-ray shows the point of the hook sitting on the bone.
Geer said, “The surgeons and the doctors all said I got there in the nick of time.”
After five days at Honolulu’s Queen’s Medical Center and two surgeries, the fisherman is back in Kona and on the mend.
“My most pain is in my shoulder,” he said. “I’ve got some follow-up surgery on that.”
But before going home, he made an important stop to thank the Coast Guard crew who saved him.
“I went over there with a truck load of beer and Jack Daniels,” Geer said. “But because of COVID they shut me down.”
He ended up finding another way to show his gratitude.
The boat captain is also the author of a new book titled, “Vicious Cycle: Whiskey, Women and Water.” It’s currently one of Amazon’s top new releases.
Geer says he’s donating all the royalties he made from the book this past weekend to a mutual fund that helps members of the Coast Guard in need.
“At a minimum, I owe my hand to the Coast Guard,” he said. “And possibly my life.”