Missing NFL Football Players: Coast Guard Calls Off Search
Update: The Coast Guard has now called off the search for the three men missing off the Florida coast. Officials said that they were sure that they would have found any survivors, had there been any.
Previously: The father of one of the three men missing at sea - including two NFL players - says the US Coast Guard is losing hope of finding any of them alive.
The men have been missing since they went on a fishing trip off the Florida Coast on Saturday. On Monday, one man, Nick Schuyler, was found clinging to the capsized boat and was taken to hospital. The three others have yet to be found.
Bruce Cooper says he still has hope. But the Coast Guard told families privately that officials weren't optimistic because of the timeframe and possibility of hypothermia.
Cooper's son is Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper. The search for him, free-agent lineman Corey Smith and former college player William Bleakley entered its third day Tuesday.
The Coast Guard wouldn't publicly say whether they thought the men were still alive.
Nick Schuyler has been giving the authorities more information about what happened.
The Coast Guard said he had told them that the boat had been anchored, and that it had capsized in stormy seas while the anchor was being raised.
The Coast Guard was able to refine its search when a fourth member of the fishing party, Nick Schuyler, was found conscious and wearing a life jacket yesterday clinging to the overturned craft about 39 miles (63 kilometers) offshore. He was taken to a Tampa, Florida, hospital.
“The plan right now is to continue to search through the day,” Close said. “Hypothermia is a very big concern at this point.”
Close said Schuyler was “very exhausted and somewhat groggy” during his conversation yesterday with the Coast Guard. The survivor told authorities the four men weren’t wearing life jackets when the boat flipped at around 5 p.m. local time on Feb. 28 but immediately swam under the boat and were able to don the vests, Close said.
The Coast Guard are scouring more than 2,000 square miles for the missing trio. Air Force reserve crews joined the search on Tuesday.
They will use two March 2 aircraft, a HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter and an HC-130P/N extended range refueling aircraft to conduct a systematic search of the ocean within that 16,000 square mile area.