Fisherman dies after boat capsizes off Fellsmere

FELLSMERE, FL (WFLX) - Florida Fish and Wildlife is working to determine what caused a boat to capsize killing one man Thursday morning in Fellsmere.

Officials say it happened about three miles into Stick Marsh around 7 a.m.

Indian River County Fire Rescue says three men left from a boat ramp near the Fellsmere Grade Recreation Area to fish on a 16 foot bass fishing boat.

After they were about three miles into the marsh, FWC officials say, the three men noticed windy, choppy conditions and tried to turn around.

Officials say in the process of heading back to shore, one man abandoned the boat. Two others stayed in until it capsized.

Officials say choppy water could have easily flooded the vessel which sits low to the water.

Calls to 911 were not immediately successful, according to FWC officials, because of the remoteness of the swamp.

Fire rescue officials say the men could have been in the water about 45 minutes before rescue crews arrived.

FWC says two men had hypothermia-like symptoms. The man who abandoned the boat was pronounced dead at the hospital. He was identified as Francis Whitehead, 64, according to Lenny Salberg, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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