There has been a massive outpouring of support for FLW angler Nik Kayler, still missing on Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. Kayler and his partner, professional angler Bill Kisiah apparently capsized or crashed Thursday during the first day of the FLW Costa Series event on Okeechobee.
Kayler’s partner, boat owner Bill Kisiah, managed to remain with the capsized boat which floated ashore and was found late Thursday night. The temperatures hovered around the freezing mark at takeoff that day. Kisiah was hospitalized suffering from severe hypothermia. However Kayler has still not been located in spite of continuing intense searching by the Florida Freshwater Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and hundreds of volunteers.
Kayler, 38, is from Apopka, Fla. He has a wife and daughter. The military veteran is said to have survived sniper attacks on his Black Hawk helicopter in Baghdad.
At least five different GoFundMe accounts have been established for Kayler’s family. The largest contributions have gone to the page shared by FLW Outdoors with its nationwide membership. FLW angler Ryan Worthington established that GoFundMe with a goal of raising $15,000. However after only one day online, the fund has accumulated $25,892 in donations (at this writing).
There has also been a Facebook established called “Boaters looking for Nik Kayler.”
Official updates on Kisiah’s medical condition have not been released by officials with the Florida FWC. However according to a post on that Facebook page from Donny Bass, Kisiah has been released from the hospital.
Bass wrote, “Bill wanted to go on the water with me but I told him, ‘No, there was no reason for him to get out there after just getting released from the hospital.’ I know he has cried with me about all this and is very upset. I spoke with him right after he got out of the water and all he said over and over, was, “We have to find Nik. We have to find Nik.”