Fishing Boat Carrying NFL Players Reported Missing in Florida

goreds2

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FOXNews.com - Fishing Boat Carrying NFL Players Reported Missing in Florida - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News

Fishing Boat Carrying NFL Players Reported Missing in Florida

Sunday, March 01, 2009


The Coast Guard is searching the waters off the west coast of Florida for a missing fishing boat with two NFL players on board, officials said.
A friend reported Oakland Raiders linebacker Victor "Marquis" Cooper, Detroit Lion defensive end Corey Smith and Nick Skyler missing at about 1:30 a.m. A fourth, unidentified person was also on the boat.
The boat departed from the Seminole Boat Ramp in Clearwater Pass early Saturday morning and was supposed to return sometimes after dark, but never did.
A Coast Guard 47-foot motor-life boat crew from Station Sand Key, Fla., HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and C-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, and the Coast Guard Cutter Crocodile are searching a 750-square mile area west of Clearwater Pass for the missing boaters.
The Oakland Raiders signed veteran free agent Cooper, 26, on Nov. 5, 2008, according to his player's biography on the team's Web site. Cooper orginally entered the NFL as a third round draft choice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004.
He played in 26 games for Tampa Bay from 2004-05, one game for Seattle in 2006 and four games for Jacksonville and Pittsburgh in 2007. He has played in a total of 31 league games and has recorded 29 solo tackles.
The 29-year-old Smith is listed as an unrestricted free agent on the Lion's Web site. The Richnond, Va., native was a four-year letterman at North Carolina State and was signed by Tampa Bay in 2002.
He has been with the Lions since 2006, after a two-year stint with the the San Francisco 49ers.
 
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goreds2

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***UPDATE: The U.S. Coast Guard has confirmed that the boat carrying NFL players Corey Smith and Marquis Cooper, and two others, has been found, along with one survivor. The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that former University of South Florida football player Nick Schuyler was found alive and clinging to the boat 38 miles west of Tampa Bay. The other three men remain missing.

Coast Guard locates boat that carried missing NFL players; one survivor found | Outposts | Los Angeles Times

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2009/03/03/20090303CooperSearch.html
 
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TSSJimmyCoN

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This is really sad. I look at the posting replies to stories regarding this on espn and Mlive (michigan sports website) and people are just writing horrendous things. The men were not just football players, they were men with families....all these f*cking idiots writing how they deserved what they got because they played for the raiders and lions are seriously messed up....I feel for these guys families and the organizations. What a terrible terrible thing
 

goreds2

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I hope this opens boaters eyes going forward to buy this device:

Two days before NFL player Marquis Cooper took a doomed fishing trip with three friends in Florida Gulf Coast waters, a friend urged him to buy a life-saving device used to locate boats in distress.

Cooper hadn't heard of the gadget, an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). And he didn't purchase one before his excursion on Saturday, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

The devices cost between $400 and $1,400 and can self-activate when boats tip over. Cooper agreed that he should have one — but didn't follow through before setting off Saturday. Eavenson had been invited to go with the four, but declined, according to the paper.

The Coast Guard never received a distress signal from Cooper's 21-foot fishing boat.

FOXNews.com - NFL Player Lost at Sea Urged to Buy Life-Saving Device for Boats in Distress -- But Didn't - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News
 

semipenguin

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This is really sad and something that could have been avoided. It's tragic to the family and friends of those lost...:worried:

God bless and comfort the family and friend of those lost. Hopefully we won't have to hear news like this ever again.
 

goreds2

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Coast Guard search in Gulf of Mexico cost $1.6M - On Deadline - USATODAY.com

Coast Guard search in Gulf of Mexico cost $1.6M


The Coast Guard spent $1.6 million searching for four men, including two NFL players, lost in the Gulf of Mexico last month, the St. Petersburg Times reports.

The newspaper, quoting figures provided by the Coast Guard, says the three-day search over more than 20,000 square miles of water required 230 combined hours of Coast Guard aircraft and boats.

Rescuers found one of the men, Nick Schuyler, alive and clinging to a capsized fishing boat. His friends, Corey Smith of the Detroit Lions, Marquis Cooper of the Oakland Raiders and Will Bleakley have not been found and are presumed dead, the Times says.

Coast Guard officials say the boaters were not carrying special emergency radio beacons to pinpoint their location, the newspaper says. Such devices, the officials say, can help narrow search efforts and lower the cost.

The Times says the Coast Guard in the district logged 1,300 search-and-rescue missions in 2008.
 

goreds2

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Report: Improper Anchoring Caused Boat Accident
Mar 27, 3:27 PM (ET)

By CHRISTINE ARMARIO
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - An agency investigating a deadly boating accident involving two NFL players and their friends in the Gulf of Mexico has concluded it was caused when the vessel was improperly anchored and the boat capsized after one of them tried to throttle forward to pry loose the anchor.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's investigation also cited carelessness and operator inexperience as contributing factors. The combination of errors came at the time a storm front was moving in, making conditions on the water very rough.

Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, free-agent NFL defensive lineman Corey Smith, and former University of South Florida players William Bleakley and Nick Schuyler departed from Clearwater Pass, Fla., early Feb. 28 to go offshore fishing for amberjack.

Schuyler, found clinging to the boat two days later, was the lone survivor. The other three men have not been found.

In an in-depth interview with the agency, Schuyler gave this account of the accident:


Early that morning, the men went more than 50 miles offshore in Cooper's 21-foot vessel. It was loaded with two large coolers filled with ice, drinks, food and beer. All of the friends were dressed in warm clothes, sweat suits and jackets.

Around 5:30 p.m., they went to pull up the anchor and head back to port, but the anchor was stuck. Bleakley suggested they tie it to the transom and use the boat's motor to pull it loose.

When Cooper tried to thrust the boat forward, the vessel became submerged and capsized, tossing the men overboard. All four tried uprighting the boat by standing on one side of the overturned vessel. When that didn't work, Bleakley swam underneath and was able to retrieve three life vests, a large cooler and a portable, cushion-type flotation device.

Bleakley, who Schuyler has credited with saving his life, used the makeshift flotation device, which has been described previously as a cushion. The other three wore the vests.

The men appear to have tried everything in their power to rescue themselves: Schuyler told the agency they tried retrieving and using flares, but they were wet, agency Investigator Jim Manson said. They got their cell phones, which were in plastic baggies, but there was no signal.

They knew how many hours were passing because Schuyler had a watch with a light on and was able to keep track of the time. He said that around 5:30 a.m. the next day, Cooper became unresponsive. Schuyler and Bleakley tried to revive him without success.

Cooper's flotation device was removed and Bleakley put it on. The Oakland Raiders linebacker then became separated from the boat.

About an hour later, Smith started to show "possible extreme symptoms of hypothermia." He removed his flotation device and also became separated from the boat.

The two college teammates were the only ones left. They hung on together for about 24 hours, until Bleakley grew weak and removed his life vest as well.

Schuyler said that his friend appeared to die as he was holding onto him. He let his friend go and Bleakley drifted away.

Manson said moving the anchor line to the stern, or back of the boat, contributed to the vessel's instability and flooding when they tried to free it. He described it as a mistake that probably happens every day, but one that a more experienced boater would be aware of and could handle.

Cooper, the boat's owner, had more than 100 hours of boating experience but no formal education, and had been drinking, according to the report.

"Overall, it's just a mistake in anchoring," Manson said.

The Coast Guard released its records on the accident last week. According to the agency, Schuyler told them the boat capsized after their anchor got caught in a reef.

The accuracy of that account was somewhat unclear because Schuyler was suffering from hypothermia and spoke to them shortly after he was pulled from the boat. His doctor said he probably could have only lived another five to 10 hours.

The Coast Guard called off its search after three days of scouring 24,000 miles of ocean.