Monday, March 2, 2009

Alert! NFL Players Lost At Sea!

NFL players Corey Smith & Marquis Cooper are among four boaters that remain missing since Saturday night off Florida’s Gulf Coast. I am praying for their safe return! Details below:


Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper and NFL free agent Corey Smith, who played for the Detroit Lions for the past three seasons, have not returned from a Saturday fishing trip in water off Clearwater, Florida, family members and colleagues said Sunday.

“It feels like my greatest fear coming true — it doesn’t feel real,” Cooper’s wife, Rebekah, told CNN affiliate WTSP in Tampa on Sunday afternoon. “I’m just waiting for a phone call.”

The Coast Guard began searching around 2 a.m. Sunday after it learned that four men — Cooper, Smith, and former University of South Florida football players William Bleakley and Nick Schuyler — had not returned from their fishing trip Saturday evening as expected.

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.

Searchers have focused on 750 square miles of open water in the Gulf of Mexico, about 50 miles west of Clearwater Pass. From there, the men had left the Seminole Boat Ramp in a 21-foot single-engine boat about 6:30 a.m. Saturday, the Coast Guard said.

Rebekah Cooper said she became worried Saturday night when she didn’t hear from her husband. She called her one of her husband’s fishing buddies, Brian Miller, who contacted the Coast Guard with the coordinates of where the men planned to fish.

“Usually I’m on the boat. It’s a little difficult wondering if something would have been different if I had been there,” Miller said. “Or who knows? They may be just sitting out there with a broken motor — and that’s what we’re hoping for.”He said it was clear something was wrong when Cooper didn’t call Saturday night.

“He should’ve been within range to use his cell phone, and he knows enough to shut it off when he goes out so the batteries are still there,” he said. Close said weather conditions were relatively good Saturday, “but the weather picked up overnight.” “It’s a small vessel for the conditions that are out there right now,” Close said Sunday afternoon.

Rebekah Cooper said her husband was aware of Sunday’s weather forecast and for that reason picked Saturday for the trip. “Fishing is his first love, it always has been,” she said, adding, “I have a lot of faith in him out there.”

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