Father: Coast Guard Losing Hope Of Finding Players
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) -- The families of two NFL players and a third man lost at sea watched as the search entered its third day Tuesday, with odds stacking against their hope the Coast Guard could still find survivors in a chilly sea.
Bruce Cooper, the father of Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, said the Coast Guard told him privately that officials were losing hope because of the timeframe and possibility of hypothermia. But free-agent lineman Corey Smith's sister, Yolanda Newbill, said they were still hearing otherwise.
"That is not what is being communicated to us," she said, adding that the family is still "definitely optimistic" about the search.
Coast Guard officials wouldn't publicly speculate, but officials say hypothermia can set in after 18 hours in 64-degree water. Water temperatures were in the mid- to upper-60s.
"With all of these men being past, present football players, they do have a much larger physique than a lot of people," Petty Officer Robert Simpson had said. "So their odds are going to be definitely in their favor."
The lone survivor so far is Nick Schuyler, who was conscious but appeared weak as he was loaded onto a stretcher after being rescued Monday. His father, Stuart Schuyler, said the former University of South Florida player was bruised and dehydrated. A hospital official said Tuesday he was in fair condition.
Schuyler told rescuers the boat flipped as they were pulling up the anchor Saturday evening, Coast Guard Capt. Timothy M. Close said. None were wearing life vests at the time, but they managed to swim under the boat, grab the vests and put them on, he said.
Close said the men were able to stay together for awhile, but somehow got separated. Schuyler had propped himself on top of the boat and was hanging on to the hull when he was found about 35 miles off Clearwater.
Close said Schuyler provided some information that allowed them to refine their search.