Fishing & Boating News

FLW Outdoors mourns Loss of Tony Strickland

by: Dave Washburn, vp comm, FLW Outdoors

(Mar. 08, 2004 - Harris Chain of Lakes, Tavares, Fl) 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 vessel. 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 and upright. 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 check in. 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. A visitation is scheduled for noon Saturday, March 6, with a funeral service at 2 p.m. at Deltona Memorial Funeral Home, 1295 Saxon Blvd. in Orange City, Fla. People interested in making a contribution in Tony's memory can send donations to the Teen Sportfishing Association, which Tony founded in 2001 to help teach teens about fishing and boating. Memorials may be sent to the following address: Teen Sportfishing Association C/O Nancy Strickland 769 Barger Drive Deltona, Fla. 32738