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FWC issues report on fisherman who drowned in Lake Okeechobee

Posted at 4:57 PM, Jun 06, 2018

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission issued their final report on a fisherman who died in a boating accident on Lake Okeechobee in January.

Nik Kayler of Apopka went missing while participating in a fishing tournament on Lake Okeechobee on Jan. 4.

According to a report by FWC, Kayler was a passenger on a motorboat operated by William Robert Kisiah.

Kisiah's vessel encountered high winds as it neared the center of the lake. The high winds generated waves and hazardous water conditions.

FWC says the boat penetrated a wave and became swamped. Kayler was ejected from the boat at that time. Kisiah lost power to his outboard motor while attempting to retrieve Kayler from the water.

Kisiah attempted to utilize his trolling motor to navigate to Kayler, but the rough conditions caused him to fall overboard. When Kisiah returned to the boat, Kayler was no longer in sight. FWC says the wind and waves were more than the trolling motor could overcome. Eventually the trolling motor lost power, leaving Kisiah adrift.

At approximately 5:05 p.m., check in for the final flight was completed and the tournament director was notified that Kisiah's vessel had still not arrived.

A search and rescue mission was initiated to locate the missing men.

At approximately 10:45 p.m., a Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy located Kisiah at the Pahokee Marina. He was transported to a hospital and treated for hypothermia and dehydration.

The search for Kayler continued until Jan. 10 when his body was found by a commercial fisherman near Clewiston on Lake Okeechobee.

An autopsy determined the cause of death to be accidental drowning.

FWC says evidence and information gathered indicates that no crime was committed.