A commercial vessel located Nik Kayler's body Wednesday morning near Clewiston, Florida.
On Jan. 4, a pair of tournament anglers fishing a Costa FLW Series bass tournament event on Lake Okeechobee went missing.
William Kisiah and co-angler Nik Kayler failed to check in at the end of the day Thursday, initiating a search and rescue operation by numerous Florida agencies, including the Coast Guard, local sheriff's offices and the FWC.
Authorities found William Kisiah alive late that night, and the search for Kayler intensified in the days that followed.
On the morning of Jan. 10, a commerical vessel located the body of co-angler Nik Kayler in the vicinity of the Clewiston water tower.
The FWC released an official statement Wednesday afternoon:
On Thursday, January 4, William Kisiah (DOB 4/9/1966) of Slidell, LA and Nicolas Kayler (DOB 1/1/1980) of Apopka, FL departed the C. Scott Driver boat ramp located on the Kissimmee River in Okeechobee, Florida aboard a 21' Ranger Bass Boat. Preliminary information indicates that the vessel encountered rough waters and struck a wave and Mr. Kayler was ejected from the vessel. Mr. Kisiah made landfall at the Pahokee Marina later that evening when he made contact with Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. Numerous agencies, including the FWC, United States Coast Guard, St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, Palm Beach Sheriff's Office and Okeechobee Sheriff's Office were involved in the search for Mr. Kayler.
Mr. Kayler's body was recovered on the morning of January 10 by a commercial vessel in the vicinity of the Clewiston water tower on the lake.
All of the members of the FWC want to express our sincere sympathies to the victims and families of the victims involved in this incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. The FWC would like to take this opportunity to remind all boaters enjoying Florida's beautiful waterways to do so safely. Please wear your life jacket and maintain 360-degree awareness at all times while boating. For boating safety tips, please visit MyFWC.com/boating. This incident is currently under investigation by the FWC.
"Our prayers are with Nik's family during this time of unimaginable tragedy," said FLW President of Operations Kathy Fennel. "The loss of his life touches the entire fishing community."
A GoFundMe campaign has been established benefiting Nik's wife, Kelly, and daughter, Caralee. To make a contribution, please click HERE.
We will release further updates as they become available from local authorities investigating the accident.