The US Coast Guard is suspending its search of Detroit Lions defensive end Corey Smith, Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, and former University of South Florida football player Will Bleakley. The three boaters, who had gone on a fishing trip off Florida’s Gulf Coast were reported missing at around 1:30 am on Sunday. Search efforts began about half an hour later.
One of the other boaters, Nick Schuyler, who is also a former University of South Florida football player, was rescued on Monday. Schuyler says all of them had been wearing life vests when the boat capsized and that they held on to the 21-foot boat for about 12 to 16 hours until Bleakley, Cooper, and Smith finally let go.The boat belongs to Cooper. 10-foot tall weaves reportedly played a role in the catastrophic boating accident.
According to the US Coast Guard, some 200 boats have capsized in last five months. Capsizing is the number one cause of US boating accidents.
Just last week, officials recovered the bodies of a 7-year-old girl and her 48-grandfather after their 15-foot boat toppled over when the steering cable broke, causing the boat to go out of control. In 2007, About 284 injuries and 204 deaths occurred from 398 capsized boat accidents.
The next two leading causes of US boating accidents are falls overboard and boating collisions with other vessels.
If the boat you are riding in capsizes, the US Coast Guard advises passengers to stay close to the boat to make it easier for rescuers to find you. Officials also recommend letting family and friends know where you will be and where you plan to go in your boat.
Coast Guard suspends search for NFL players, AP, March 3, 2009
200 boats have capsized in past five months, Coast Guard says, CNN, March 3, 2009
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If you or someone you love was injured in a Maryland boating accident because of another party’s negligence or carelessness, please contact Lebowitz & Mzhen. Our Maryland boating accident lawyers will be happy to assist you.