To amuse the children, deckhand Jeff Twaddle put a bait fish in his mouth. It lodged in his throat, and he lost consciousness.
Attempts to dislodge the fish and to perform CPR failed, and 54-year-old Twaddle died.
The boat's owner, Capt. Dan Salas told the Long Beach Press Telegram, "It's a tragic, freak accident. We're all so saddened by this," the boat's owner Capt. Dan Salas told the Press-Telegram.
About 20 children from an LAUSD elementary school witnessed the accident.
The district sent a note home to their parents, offering grief counseling for the students who might be upset about what happened.
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