Commercial fisherman dies in accident on Lake Okeechobee

LAKE OKEECHOBEE — A commercial fisherman died in an accident on Lake Okeechobee near Bird Island on the morning of Wednesday, July 8, according to a report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

According to the FWC report, Matthew Thomas Schlayer, 33, of Polk City, was located in the water approximately 10 feet in front of his Carolina Skiff.

“The victim is a commercial fisherman who cast-nets tilapia on Lake Okeechobee,” FWC Investigator Wad Turner wrote in his report. “The victim was found in the water by Good Samaritans with the cast net line wrapped around his left wrist. A portion of the netting of the cast net was caught on the port bow of the vessel.”

Bird Island is in the Glades County portion of Lake Okeechobee. The Glades County Sheriff’s Office assisted FWC in the investigation.

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