UPDATE: at the bottom is an update on details of the tragedy.
The slim ray of hope that was announced shortly after the Coast Guard rescued Nick Schuyler that Marquis Cooper was also found alive proved slimmer. No such rescue had been made and now, 3 days after the 4 men went missing during a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico, the Coast Guard has stopped searching.
Last night, Tuesday, around 6:15 the search was officially called off. It now appears that Cooper, along with fellow NFL player Corey Smith and former collegiate player William Bleakley will be lost forever at sea. Information on the events have been sketchy at best, mostly provided by the lone survivor.
Schuyler has stated that the boat capsized while anchored about 35 miles off the coast of Tampa, Florida. According to his account a sudden storm caught the men off guard and tossed the boat over sometime Saturday evening. Schuyler also says that one of the 3 men is a hero.
The men apparently were not wearing life preservers when the boat capsized throwing all four into the cool coastal waters. Schuyler said that Bleakley swam under the boat to retrieve the life jackets for the 4 men. Schuyler calls Bleakley a hero for his actions.
Yesterday afternoon some of the details of the events were brought to the media by Schuyler. While the group of 4 clinged to the upturned vessel, it was Cooper and Smith who drifted away first, reportedly around 2 AM on Saturday morning. At one point, according to Nick, a search and rescue helicopter hovered over them with a search light but apparently didn’t see the men or the boat.
No information was available as to why the men drifted away from the boat or why the men were not on the boat the way Nick was found. In reality, it doesn’t appear to matter much anymore. The NFL has lost 2 players and more importantly the families of 3 men will forever be changed and the life of one man will never be the same.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of all of them, to Nick Schuyler, and of course the men who now seem to have perished in the Gulf.
UPDATE: I chose to put this down here as opposed to the top so you could choose weather to read it. News broke yesterday that according to Schuyler who is recovering has said that one of the NFL’ers gave up hope, took off his life jacket and allowed himself to drift off in the swells. A few hours later, the other NFL’er did the same. William Beakley held on until he thought he saw a rescue boat and decided to swim for it.