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Monday, March 2, 2009

Search continues for Corey Smith, three other boaters off Florida coast

The Coast Guard continue to search for former Wolfpack football player Corey Smith and the rest of his boating crew that went missing late Saturday night off the coast of Clearwater, Florida.

Smith, along with Oakland Raider Marquis Cooper and former USF football players Nick Schuyler and William Bleakley, were reported as missing at sea on Sunday. They were out in the Gulf of Mexico in a 21-foot vessel when harsh weather led to extremely rough seas. It's thought that the waves reached heights in excess of nine feet.

The latest on the story can be found here at cnn.com. I'll try to post updates as I can:

- As of 1:30, the Coast Guard appears to have found a capsized boat with a man clinging to it. There's speculation on the boards that it is Nick Schuyler.

- 1:35. It is, in fact, Nick Schuyler. He's alive and reasonably well. That they haven't found the other three is troubling, but Schuyler's recovery is good news nonetheless.

- 3:30. According to Schuyler, the boat the four players were on was anchored in the Gulf when it was capsized by a large wave.

- 12:30 Tuesday. Still no word on the other three occupants of the boat. It's tough to remain hopeful at this point, after having been in the water for over 48 hours, of recovering any of the remaining three alive. The temperature of the water, even if the other three were wearing safety suits, is cold enough to have subjected the men to hypothermia by now. Keep sending your prayers.

- 5:00. According to Tampa Bay's Fox affiliate, the search for the remaining three boaters is being suspended at sundown. (H/T The Struttin' Wolf) This all but ends any hope of finding any of the three men alive. The Coast Guard estimates they've searched over 24,000 square miles of open water during the course of over 50 S&R missions.

Obviously, keep sending out your prayers for all four of the players and their families.

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