Coast Guard Recover One Man At Sea, Three Football Players Still Missing
March 2nd, 2009
According to the Associated Press, one of the four men missing off Florida’s west coast was rescued Monday afternoon. The man was identified as Nick Schuyler, a former University of SouthFlorida football player.The Coast Guard says they discovered Schuyler hanging on a boat they believe belongs to Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, who is still missing along with NFL free agent Corey Smith and William Bleakley, also a former player at the University of South Florida. The four men failed to return from a fishing trip in water off Clearwater, Fla., on Saturday. “It feels like my greatest fear coming true – it doesn’t feel real,” Cooper’s wife, Rebekah, told TV station WTSP in Tampa on Sunday afternoon. “I’m just waiting for a phone call.” Schuyler told officials that the boat was overturned on Saturday evening when a storm hit, prompting the four men to cling to the boat while awaiting help. It is still unclear what happened to the other three men. Rough weather has hampered the effort, but “it’s still a very active search,” Coast Guard Capt. Tim Close told reporters Sunday afternoon. The search-and-rescue effort was being conducted primarily by air, because of the conditions at sea, although authorities deployed patrol boats as well, Close said. Searchers have focused on 750 square miles of open water in the Gulf of Mexico, about 50 miles west of ClearwaterPass. From there, the men had left the Seminole Boat Ramp in a 21-foot single-engine boat about 6:30 a.m. Saturday, the Coast Guard said. “Fishing is his first love, it always has been,” said Rebekah Cooper. “I have a lot of faith in him out there.”
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