Calif. boating accident claims life of man raised on Kaua‘i

LIHU‘E — A boating accident over the weekend in waters off of the Channel Islands of California claimed the lives of at least three men, including 54-year-old Edgar Allen Isnec, a Kaua‘i High School class of 1975 graduate.

“He was a Hawai‘i boy, died in the water,” Isnec’s friend Deborah Austin said.

Isnec and three friends went fishing Saturday at about 10 a.m., according to his wife, Beth Isnec. A week prior, he had caught a big halibut near the Channel Islands and returned to the same spot.

“He loved to fish more than anything else in the world,” his wife said.

At around 11 p.m., worried that her husband had not yet returned, Beth Isnec called the Coast Guard to ask for help. The following day, the Coast Guard discovered the bodies of three men, including Edgar Isnec, floating on the ocean. The body of a fourth man was never recovered.

Beth Isnec said the Coast Guard told her that a rogue wave apparently hit their new fishing boat and turned it over. “It was a freak accident,” she said, adding that the waters were otherwise relatively calm when the men went out.

“(The Coast Guard) told me they were alive for a couple of hours trying to swim, but they probably succumbed to hypothermia and drowned,” said Beth Isnec, explaining the water temperature was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, too cold to survive for a long period.

Edgar Isnec was a man loved by many, his wife said. “Everywhere he went he exulted the aloha spirit,” Beth Isnec said. “The kids loved him, everybody called him uncle.”

Austin is a nurse at St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital in Ventura, Calif., where Edgar Isnec worked as an engineer. Because Austin is originally from O‘ahu and worked for a couple of years at Kaua‘i Memorial Veterans Hospital on the Westside, she and Isnec sealed an instant friendship when they first met, she said.

Edgar and Beth Isnec had been together for 20 years and tied the knot about four years ago. He has three children from a previous marriage and she has two children from a previous marriage, Beth Isnec said.

Edgar Isnec’s parents, Carlos and Monica Isnec, died a few years ago. He still has three sisters and a brother on Kaua‘i.

“We’re going to take him home and spread his ashes at Waimea Canyon,” said his wife, explaining that those were he husband’s wishes.

She said she is not sure when there will be a memorial, but anyone can contact her at 805-844-7644 for information.

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