One fisherman found alive, another still missing on Lake Okeechobee

Posted at 12:47 AM, Jan 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-07 18:44:39-05

One fisherman was found alive but another is still missing Friday on Lake Okeechobee after their crashed boat was found near Pahokee.

The fishermen, Bill Kisiah of Slidell, La., and his co-angler Nik Kayler of Apopka, Fla., were competing Thursday night in the Costa FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) Series and did not check in at the designated location. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed Friday morning that their crashed boat, a dark-colored Ranger Z521 with a red Evinrude G2 outboard, found near Pahokee belonged to the men.

Both were ejected into the water, according to FWC. Officers are still not sure what caused them to be thrown overboard.

Kisiah made it back to the boat and eventually the Pahokee Marina where he made contact with someone and asked for help, FWC said.

According to a FLW release, Kisiah, is a 9-year veteran boater of FLW Series competition. He was transported to Lakeside Medical Center in Belle Glade. His condition was not released.

It's believed that the boaters had planned to travel to the South Bay area from the north end of the lake.

The Okeechobee Police Department is guiding the Search and Rescue operation with the assistance of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, Clewiston police and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Clewiston police said Kayler could be anywhere between South Bay and Pahokee.

FLW is fully cooperating and assisting the investigation.

On Friday, FLW announced it was canceling the fishing competition to assist with the ongoing search.  It said final tournament standings will be determined by Day One of competition.

Tournament spokesperson Joseph Opager said anglers have volunteered to search for Kayler but authorities have asked them to hold off until FWC gives them direction.


On Sunday, members of Down East Emergency Medicine Institute (DEEMI) continued searching Lake Okeechobee for Kayler.

People searching the lake on Sunday told WPTV that rough conditions mimicked the ocean, creating rough waves.

Because of the rough conditions DEEMI was forced to bring in larger boats for their search.

Nearly 50 boats were on the lake on Sunday assisting in the search.

As the sun began to set, volunteers suspended their search, but said they would return the next day to continue.