Man killed on Kapapa Island camping trip identified

Editor’s note: Emergency officials originally reported that the man was 86 years old. This post has been updated to reflect his actual age of 77.

A man who died following a camping trip to Kapapa Island in Kaneohe Bay has been identified.

The Honolulu medical examiner’s office identified him as Robert Taone, 77.

The Honolulu Fire Department says Taone and another man found out overnight that the boat they arrived in broke anchor and capsized.

Taone ran into trouble in the water trying to get the boat and could not get back to shore.

Rescue crews were called just before 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 3.

“I saw the helicopters searching back and forth,” said Justin Ledford, who works at Heeia Pier General Store and Deli. “When I was looking through the binoculars, I saw, whoa, the waves were huge. Pumping out there.”

Taone was eventually found unconscious in the water. He was later pronounced dead.

His death has been ruled an accident.

KHON2 reached out to a former harbor master, and learned issues with anchors are a common occurrence.

“It’s an oversight with everybody,” said former Heeia Kea harbor master Earl Omoto. “Maintenance of marine gear is number one priority for me.”

He urges all boaters to pay attention to mooring hardware, including the line, anchor and shackles. Omoto adds that making sure there is enough chain is pivotal, but admits that anchors usually don’t fail.

“What fails is the line,” Omoto said. “Many fail to see chafing points, the breaks in the line. A three-strand nylon is best to use because it stretches.”

Omoto adds that a properly maintained line “should be spliced, have a thimble so no chafing on the line, and your shackles should be secured with some sort of seizing wire.”

He also adds the line should be spliced, and not tied in knots—tying knots will take away 50 percent of the safe working load limit on the line.

The former harbor master of 20 years says while he hopes this helps other boaters, he can’t forget the tragedy of what happened.

“It’s heartbreaking to hear anybody who has a misstep in the ocean, especially as tragic as this one,” Omoto said.

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