Tony Strickland of Orlando, Fla., passed away Saturday evening following a boating accident on Lake Eustis that occurred during the BFL Gator Division tournament on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Tavares, Fla.
According to Deputy Bud Anthony with the Lake County
Sheriff’s office, Strickland and co-angler Rikk Stout of
Minford, Ohio, were ejected from their boat following a
collision with a wave that caused damage to Strickland’s
Strickland and Stout were wearing personal floatation
devices at the time of the accident and Strickland’s
ignition shutoff lanyard appears to have functioned
properly, according to Deputy Anthony, who examined the
boat. The 21-foot Triton powered by a 225 Mercury outboard
sustained damage to its starboard side but remained afloat
Deputy Anthony was attending the weigh-in at Hickory Point
Landing and began a search for Strickland and Stout at the
tournament director’s request when the pair failed to
At approximately 5:15 p.m. the Lake County Sheriff’s
Department received a call reporting the damaged boat
floating against a seawall on the south end of Lake
Eustis. Deputy Anthony was just minutes from the location
and was the first to arrive on the scene. Upon finding the
boat empty, Anthony radioed dispatch, and a helicopter
joined the search. Two additional marine units and a dive
team were also alerted and placed en route.
About 15 minutes later, John Killory, who was out for a
boat ride with his family, saw Stout and pulled him into
his boat, Deputy Anthony said. Killory then called a
marine deputy via cell phone. The deputy relayed Killory’s
location to dispatch, directing the helicopter and Deputy
Anthony to the scene.
The time of Stout’s rescue was approximately 5:40 p.m.
Within minutes, the helicopter located Strickland and
directed rescuers to him, Deputy Anthony said. Strickland
and Stout were then transported by ambulance to Florida
Hospital Waterman in Tavares, according to Deputy Anthony.
Stout was treated and released from the hospital that
evening. Strickland, unfortunately, passed away. A
specific cause of death has not been released at this
time, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission, which has jurisdiction over boating accidents,
is conducting its investigation.
Tony Strickland will be greatly missed by the entire FLW
Outdoors family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his
family and friends.