Survivor of boating accident that killed three, including two NFL players tells his story

August 19, 2009

(ChattahBox) — TAMPA — In an interview (video below) that first aired yesterday on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, the sole survivor of a February boating accident that killed two NFL players and a former college player said he’s still haunted daily six months later by “survivor’s guilt” and wonders why he was the one who lived.

“I still ask every day, ’Why me?’” Nick Schuyler, 24, a former South Florida football player, said

“The hardest time of day for me is at nighttime,” he said. “I toss and turn, and your mind’s weak. You get started thinking about everything, the same thing: ’Why me?’ I don’t know.”
One key insight Schuyler revealed that may have saved his life, is he got seasick on the Feb. 28 trip and put on a sweat shirt, pants, shoes, gloves and a hat. That helped him stave off the effects of the hypothermia that led to the deaths of the others, who went into the water in shorts and T-shirts.

The four friends left Clearwater early that morning in Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper’s 21-foot Everglades open motor boat. Schuyler described how the boat capsized as the men tried to free the anchor, which was stuck on the bottom, about 70 miles west of Clearwater. After stormy winds kicked up the water about 50 miles out, the anchor got stuck on something deep underwater. They could have simply cut the line, but Cooper had done that the week before, and he didn’t want to lose another $200 anchor, Schuyler said in his interview.

Instead, the men tied the anchor to the transom, at the back of the boat, and gunned the engine. That capsized the boat, dumping all four men into the choppy water. None was wearing life jackets, and with a storm approaching, they tried in vain to turn the boat back over, then were tossed about by 14-foot waves. One by one, his friends began to succumb to the physical and mental effects of hypothermia brought on by the 63-degree Gulf of Mexico water. Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, free-agent Detroit Lions defensive lineman Corey Smith and former USF player William Bleakley died. Their bodies have not been found. Bleakley, Schuyler’s best friend, was the last one to go. His torn life vest slipped off, and he drowned, Schuyler said. Schuyler spent that night alone, bobbing up and down in rough seas and straddling the boat’s motor. After 46 hours, Coast Guard searchers found Schuyler sitting on the hull of the overturned boat. Doctors say he could have lived only five to 10 hours longer.



One Response to “Survivor of boating accident that killed three, including two NFL players tells his story”

  1. thinkb4udo on December 21st, 2009 10:54 pm

    Nick still lying, MURDERER and one day he too will pay and meet God, Marquis and Corey again no doubt and he want be able to LIE ANYMORE.

Got something to say? **Please Note** - Comments may be edited for clarity or obscenity, and all comments are published at the discretion of - Comments are the opinions of the individuals leaving them, and not of or its partners. - Please do not spam or submit comments that use copyright materials, hearsay or are based on reports where the supposed fact or quote is not a matter of public knowledge are also not permitted.