Improper anchoring caused fatal boat accident, But did Nick Schuyler Play A Part?

Published on March 27, 2009 by     

nickschuylerAn agency investigating a deadly boating accident involving two NFL players and their friends in the Gulf of Mexico has concluded that it was caused when the vessel was improperly anchored and the boat capsized after one of them tried to throttle forward to pry loose the anchor.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s investigation also cited carelessness and operator inexperience as contributing factors. The combination of errors also came at the time a storm front was moving in, making conditions on the water very rough.

Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, free-agent NFL defensive lineman Corey Smith and former University of South Florida players William Bleakley and Nick Schuyler departed from Clearwater Pass, Fla., early Feb. 28 to go offshore fishing for amberjack.

Schuyler, found clinging to the boat two days later, was the lone survivor. The other three men haven’t been found.

In an in-depth interview with the agency, Schuyler gave this account of the accident:

Early that morning, the men went more than 50 miles offshore in Cooper’s 21-foot vessel. It was loaded with two large coolers filled with ice, drinks, food and beer. All of the friends were dressed in warm clothes, sweat suits and jackets.

Around 5:30 p.m., they went to pull up the anchor and head back to port, but the anchor was stuck. Bleakley suggested they tie it to the transom and use the boat’s motor to pull it loose.

When Cooper tried to thrust the boat forward, the vessel became submerged and capsized, tossing the men overboard. They tried to upright the boat without success. Bleakley swam underneath and was able to retrieve three life vests, a large cooler and a makeshift flotation device.

Bleakley, whom Schuyler has credited with saving his life, used the makeshift flotation device, which has been described previously as a cushion. The other three wore the vests.

The men appear to have tried everything in their power to rescue themselves: Schuyler told the agency they tried retrieving and using flares without success. They also tried getting their cell phones, which were in plastic baggies.

They knew how many hours were passing because Schuyler had a watch with a light on and was able to keep track of the time. He said that around 5:30 a.m. the next day, Cooper became unresponsive. Schuyler and Bleakley tried to revive him without success.

Cooper’s flotation device was removed, and Bleakley put it on. The Oakland Raiders linebacker then became separated from the boat.

About an hour later, Smith started show “possible extreme symptoms of hypothermia.” He removed his flotation device and also became separated from the boat.

The two college teammates were the only ones left. They hung on together for about 24 hours, until Bleakley grew weak and also removed his life vest.

Schuyler said that his friend appeared to die as he was holding onto him. He let his friend go, and Bleakley drifted away.

The Coast Guard released its records on the accident last week. According to the agency, Schuyler told them the boat capsized after their anchor got caught in a reef.

The accuracy of that account was somewhat unclear because Schuyler was suffering from hypothermia and spoke to them shortly after he was pulled from the boat. His doctor said he probably could have only lived another five to 10 hours.

The Coast Guard called off its search after three days of scouring 24,000 miles of ocean.

My question is this, now that we have heard the 4th account from Nick Schuyler released today when are the police going to get involved in this whole thing and ask him what really happened to the players out there.

Body mass retains heat and therefore the NFL players should have been able to last longer than the other 2!

Nick said William saw land then swam, now he says he died in his arms, give me a damn break this is such crap, his story has changed once again and nothing has been done about it yet!

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Tell Us What's On Your Mind (9)

  1. Marlene says:

    Good question. I never before heard of an instance where the only survivor of an accident can change his story 4 times and the authorities do nothing to get to the truth of what really happened. Nick's Dr. said he was lucid when rescued so there is no excuse for him to keep changing his story.

  2. Marlene says:

    Hi Seahawk. The guys had more body mass but very little body fat. I read somewhere that Cooper had only 4% body fat. Wouldn't that cause them to be more vulnerable than Will and Nick?

  3. Muscle retains heat more than body fat, fat is continuously burning calories which of course is attributed to being overweight and losing body heat faster..

    Living in Alaska everyone thinks a person who has more fat stays warmer, A myth, people who have less body fat can stay warmer longer!

    I live in North Pole Alaska, We can get to below -60 for weeks at a time and me and my boys go outside for hours removing snow or fixing things that break!

  4. Hey Marlene..
    Always good to get others opinions on here..
    But do you believe this garbage, another story again, the 4th one, now Marquis took his life jacket off then drifted away, then the same with Smith, Then Bleakley i gues now did not see land he just gave up along with his life Jacket..

    Come on dammit, can’t the damn police see thru this guys 4 stories, im glad it wasn’t me, if i was the survivor id be in jail for investigation of murder!!

    Then if anybody who has knowledge of how hypothermia works?
    The more body mass you have the slower it sets in, these 2 guys who nick claims were the first to go off the deep end, pardon the pun, were the first?
    My A&%, they were in far better condition than William Bleakley and Our beloved Nick Schuyler, What a croc!!!

  5. Marlene says:

    The guys broke almost every boating safety rule there is, still they did not deserve to die so horribly. And their families deserve to know the truth. I can’t help feeling they were injured when the boat flipped and that Nick did nothing to help them. Nick and the friend of his that told the media that “the other two” gave up & let themselves be swept out to sea owe Corey and Marquis’s friends and family an apology for smearing their chracter and implying they were weak.

    I am stunned at the callous way Nick smeared them and the fact that when he was rescued he didn’t even inquire about his “friends” or seem to be concerned they were still missing. He has not said one positive thing about Corey or Marquis these past weeks. It doesn’t seem like he was much of a friend. Maybe him acting callous and smearimg their memory makes it easier for him to live with the guilt. Like he is creating some justification for his actions. I don’t know. This just smells bad and I can’t stop thinking about it, wondering about it.

  6. lyn says:

    maybe there has been an investigation of some sort as if i was one of the family members who had lost someone i would no way want more than one story. if nick had cuts would it not be from holding on to the propellars in rough seas? i must say he looked pretty darn good when rescued and how did he have that jacket on and manuever around in the water, all i see is confinement. this is a story you just can't let go of…

    • If you look at his rescue photo, he has heavy duty fishing gloves on his hands, so how he recieved the wounds on his hands one can only speculate as to how he got them, but the whole 4 stories thing is killing me!!

  7. Marlene says:

    According to the report two of the men took off their sweatpants to help them tread water easier. No doubt both actions sped the progression of hypothermia. Their skin was exposed to the frigid water and treading water caused them to expend more energy when they should have just stayed on the hull. Of course staying on the hull was a challenge. Per the report when all 4 of them were on the boat the water was up to their chests. I guess they felt treading was easier. Still if they were wearing PFDs (especially Class I PFDs, which I doubt) they shouldn’t have had to tread water. Why didn’t any of them think to use the boat’s tie lines to tie themselves to the hull? On second thought, since the boat was trailered to Clearwater pass, they may not have had rope tied to the cleats.

    What happened to these guys is just hearbreaking. They just wanted to go fishing and enjoy themselves. They made a mistake-okay lots of mistakes and it cost them their lives. I am sure it never ocurred to them they were endangering themselves.

  8. Monica says:

    I THINK THAT SCHUYLER HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH MURDER CHARGES FOR THE OTHER PLAYERS DEATH. HE JUST KEEP CHANGING HIS STORY OVER AND OVER. AND IT JUST HORRIBLE THAT NO ONE HAS NOT MENTION ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT THE YOUNGMEN WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THAT BOATING ACCIDENT SINCE THEY WENT MISSING. I JUST WANT THE FAMILY TO KNOW THAT I WILL ALWAYS THINK OF THEIR LOVES ONES AND KEEP THEM IN MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS.




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