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Drowning victim not wearing life jacket when boat capsized

Published August 02. 2011 05:01PM

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission officials state that boat stability, the angler's experience and physical shape may have been contributing factors in the death of an 88-year-old Schuylkill County man at Mauch Chunk Lake in Jim Thorpe last Saturday.

According to Laurel Anders, director of the PFBC's Bureau of Boating and Access, Edward W. Sestakauskas of West Penn Township was not wearing a life jacket when his Jon boat capsized on the lake.

"The boat was unstable and the victim was not wearing a life jacket," she said. "The victim's health and physical shape may have been a factor. It is not known if the victim had any formal boating safety education."

But, according to his obituary, published in Monday's TIMES NEWS, Sestakauskas was an avid fisherman who enjoyed daily trips to Mauch Chunk Lake to fish.

Answers as to what happened that caused Sestakauskas' boat to capsize are still unknown and the incident remains under investigation.

The boating accident occurred just after 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 30.

According to reports, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Waterways Conservation Officers arrived at the location of Sestakauskas' capsized boat and found the angler unconscious in the water. He was retrieved from the water by officers and CPR was performed until they reached shore.

Once the patrol boat reached shore, Sestakauskas was transported by EMS staff to a waiting medical helicopter, which life flighted him to Lehigh Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Sestakauskas' death was ruled accidental drowning.

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