Atlantic Boat and Marine News and Information
NFL Players Still Missing at Sea
CLEARWATER, FL (03/02/09) --

The Coast Guard continues its search today for four fishermen who went missing Saturday about 50 miles west of Clearwater in the Gulf of Mexico. National Football League players Corey Smith (Detroit Lions) and Marquis Cooper (Oakland Raiders) are among the missing.

Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a call at about 1: 30 a.m., Sunday, about the overdue boaters. The men reportedly left about 6:30 a.m. Saturday from Seminole Boat Ramp, Clearwater, in a 21-foot center console boat.

The US Coast Guard, US Air Force, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office are searching a combined area of more than 16,000 square miles. Six different aircraft and numerous vessels, including three Coast Guard cutters are participating in the rescue effort.

Winds and seas in this area of the Gulf grew rapidly early Sunday. NOAA's buoy 42099 off the St. Petersburg coast recorded seas increasing from 4 to 14 feet in a 3 hour period Sunday morning. Winds were gusting to more than 30 knots during this same time. Searchers are still contending with 15 to 20 knot winds and 6 to 9 foot seas today. Gulf water temperatures are running in the low 60's and wind chill has been in the 40's.

A press brief is scheduled to be held at 3 p.m. this afternoon at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg's north moorings.

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