Coast Guard Calls Off Search For Missing NFL Players Marquis Cooper, Corey Smith & former South Florida player William Bleakley
God Bless the family and friend of Marquis Cooper, Corey Smith and William Bleakley as they keep hope alive. Sadly, the Coast Guard has called off the search for missing NFL players Marquis Cooper, Corey Smith and former South Florida William Bleakley. After searching for 3 days and combing over 24,000 miles of ocean, the Coast Guard search has been halted. On Monday, searchers found Nick Schuyler alive clinging to the capsized boat providing some hope that the other 3 fisherman would be found. However, the Coast Guard was only able to find a cooler and a life jacket 16 miles southeast of the boat.
Searchers spotted no signs of the men except for a cooler and a life jacket 16 miles southeast of the boat. Still, family members of Cooper – the son of Phoenix sportscaster Bruce Cooper – maintained hope at a Tuesday night prayer vigil in Mesa, Ariz., that he might turn up.
“Even if he goes on, he’s with the Lord,” said Cooper’s grandmother, Zelma Davis. “But we have hope we’re going to keep him.” Bleakley’s father said he thought Coast Guard rescuers did everything they could, adding he had lower expectations after only one survivor was found Monday. “I think they were not to be found,” Robert Bleakley said.
Marquis Cooper, Corey Smith and William Bleakley have been missing since Saturday when they left for a fishing trip in their 21 foot boat off the Florida coast and never returned. Friends of missing players refuse to give up hope and the search …
The Coast Guard search has ended; however, friends of the missing boaters have started their own searches in an effort to find Marquis Cooper, Corey Smith and William Bleakley. Dallas Cowboy DT, a childhood friend and former college teammate of Marquis Cooper has asked for help to search for the missing three men.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Tank Johnson asked for the public’s help in continuing their own search. “What we are asking for is experienced aviation pilots who are interested in helping us find the remains if not Marquis floating on the water and Corey and the other gentleman,” Johnson said. “Anything can happen, stranger things have happened and we still have faith,” he said. “If nothing else, get the remains back so we can have our family service and move on with closure in our life and that chapter. But these are people who we love dearly.”
Authorities were done, but about a dozen charter boats motored out Wednesday, some with friends of the families aboard, to try to locate some signs of the men, according to dock workers at John’s Pass near St. Petersburg. Three private planes also flew over the endless stretch of water, according to Cooper’s father.
The lone survivor said two of those lost gave up after hours in the frigid water and the third tried to swim to safety.
But two to four hours after the boat capsized, one of the NFL players removed his life jacket and let himself be swept out to sea, the St. Petersburg Times reported. A few hours later, the other one followed suit.
After Cooper, 26, and Corey Smith, 29, were carried away, Bleakley and Schuyler hung on until morning — but then Bleakley decided to swim to get help when he thought he saw a distant light, the paper said.
He, too, took his life vest off, 24-year-old Schuyler told the families.
“I think he was delusional to think he could swim someplace,” the Times quoted Bob Bleakley as saying.
According to recent reports, the family of Marquis Cooper has decided to end the private search for Marquis Cooper and the two other missing boaters. According to accounts, the family received new information on the events of last Saturday and decided to discontinue the search for Marquis.
The private search for three missing boaters off the Gulf Coast of Florida reportedly has ended.
Private search efforts for two NFL players, Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith, and former University of South Florida football player Will Bleakley continued after the Coast Guard ended its search Tuesday evening. Coast Guard officials said they did not believe survivors remained in the water.