The Tampa Tribune is reporting that Lions’ free agent Corey Smith and two Raiders’ players including special teamer Marquis Cooper are lost on a fishing boat in the Gulf of Mexico.
The search includes an 87-foot cutter, two helicopters and two planes. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is expected to join the search of inshore waters on Monday.
Coast Guard Capt. Timothy Close said current weather conditions are hampering search efforts. They are encountering 14-foot seas and 30 mph gusts with whitecaps making it difficult to spot a white boat, he said.
The weather is expected to stay bad at least through Monday.
About 10 a.m., the Coast Guard withdrew a 47-foot rescue boat that had been searching since 2 a.m. because the rough seas made it difficult to search effectively.
The search started 50 miles offshore because a family member provided GPS coordinates of a place the men have fished in the past.
The men left Clearwater Pass about 6:30 a.m. Saturday in a 21-foot, center-console boat with a single engine. They were expected back by Saturday afternoon or early evening. There was no contact between the boaters and their families during the day Saturday and the Coast Guard received no distress call.
That does not mean one was not issued, just none was received, Close said.
The Coast Guard was alerted about 1:30 a.m. today when the boat did not return as expected. The search started about 2 a.m., centered about 50 miles from Clearwater Pass. The search area covers about 750 square miles.
I pray for the men’s safe recovery.