Joking deckhand chokes to death on bait
in front of elementary school kids
LONG BEACH - A deckhand on a charter boat choked to death after he accidentally swallowed a bait fish in front of elementary school students on a fishing trip along the breakwater, authorities said Tuesday.
Jeff Twaddle, 54, of Huntington Beach was a deckhand on the Gale Force, a charter boat that operates fishing trips out of Rainbow Harbor and San Pedro, said Capt. Dan Salas, the boat's owner.
Los Angeles County Coroner's Lt. Fred Corral said Twaddle's death was ruled accidental. "It's a tragic freak accident," Salas said. "We're all so saddened by this."
The accident happened Friday when Twaddle was on a fishing trip along the breakwater off Long Beach with a group of about 20 elementary school students from the Los Angeles Unified School District, said Long Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief Frank Hayes."It sounds like he was trying to be light-hearted and make the students laugh when he put the fish in his mouth," Hayes said.
The fish became severely lodged in Twaddle's throat and he quickly lost consciousness, Hayes said. Crew members, lifeguards and paramedics tried to dislodge the fish and perform CPR with no luck...