The chances that Detroit Lion Corey Smith, Oakland Raider Marquis Cooper, and fellow boater Will Bleakley will ever be found went from slim to none on Tuesday evening as the U.S. Coast Guard called off their search for the missing boaters at sunset. After covering over 20,000 square miles of water since Saturday afternoon, the Coast Guard decided that if they were ever going to find survivors other than Nick Schuyler they would have done it already.
So in order to find out what happened to the four men who went out on that boat we’re going to have to rely on the word of the rescued Schuyler. Obviously, after going through the ordeal that Schuyler has been through, we can’t be sure anything he says is the truth right now, but he did have some disturbing news about his missing friends.
From THE ST. PETERSBURG TIMES:
Schuyler told Coast Guard investigators a strange story about the fate of the others, according to family members of two of the missing men. However, they said, given Schuyler’s condition when rescued after two days on the sea in cold weather, he may have been delusional.
Schuyler told investigators that about two to four hours after their boat flipped in rough seas, one of the two National Football League players on board gave up hope and let himself be swept away, according to relatives briefed by the Coast Guard.
A few hours later, the second one did the same.
“We were told that Nick said the two NFL players took their life jackets off and drifted out to sea,” said Bob Bleakley, whose son Will, 25, a former University of South Florida football player, is also still missing.
As for the fate of Bleakley, apparently he was only a few hours away from being rescued before making a fatal decision.
Then, sometime early Monday, Will Bleakley thought he saw a light in the distance. He decided to take off his life jacket and swim to it, hoping to get help, Bob Bleakley said Schuyler told the investigators.
“I think he was delusional to think he could swim someplace,” Bob Bleakley said.
As for Schuyler’s condition, his father said on Tuesday that he’s “slowly improving.”