NFL Players Corey Smith & Marquis Cooper Missing from Fishing Boat in Florida’s Gulf Coast – UPDATE *BOAT FOUND*
Two NFL players, Detroit Lions defensive end Corey Smith and Oakland Raiders linebacker Victor “Marquis” Cooper are among four boaters reported missing Sunday off Florida’s Gulf Coast. The Coast Guard is presently searching for the 21 foot boat that left Clearwater Pass on Saturday morning for a fishing trip and did not return. The fishing vessel was believed to have been in distress as waters there in the Gulf of Mexico reportedly are extremely choppy.
The Coast Guard is searching for four missing fishermen including at least two NFL players: Victor “Marquis” Cooper, of the Oakland Raiders, and Corey Smith, of the Detroit Lions. (AP Photos )
The boat departed from the Seminole Boat Ramp in Clearwater Pass early Saturday morning and was supposed to return sometime after dark, but never did.
Smith owned the boat and he and Cooper had been on fishing trips before, said Ron Del Duca, Smith’s agent. The pair had been teammates on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004.
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.
NFL Players Missing After Fishing Trip, Boat Disappeared 50 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.
At 1:30 this morning, the Coast Guard received a call from a friend saying that the boaters were overdue. The Coast Guard said the third boater was Nick Skyler and did not identify the fourth person. ABC News Tampa affiliate WFTS learned from a Coast Guard dispatcher that some of the boaters were NFL players.
Rough weather has hampered the effort, but “it’s still a very active search,” Coast Guard Capt. Tim Close told reporters Sunday afternoon.
Poor visibility from heavy waves forced the search-and-rescue effort to be conducted primarily by air, though authorities deployed patrol boats as well, Close said.
According to reports there was no SOS distress signal received from the 21 foot fishing boat prior to the 4 men going missing. The Coast Guard stated that there was no SOS received; however, that does not necessarily mean one was not sent.
“That’s not to say they didn’t send one out,” he said. “We didn’t receive anything.”
Among the people missing are two current NFL player, Corey Smith and Marquis Cooper and two former college football players, Will Bleakley and Nick Schuyler.
The Coast Guard is searching a wide area for the 21-foot vessel carrying Corey Smith, a Detroit Lions free-agent defensive end, and Marquis Cooper, an Oakland Raiders linebacker. Will Bleakley and Nick Schuyler, both former University of South Florida players, were also aboard.