Some things hit too close to home.
On Monday night I heard mention that two NFL players, Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith, together with a third man, William Bleakley, were missing off the Florida coast after their boat overturned. The fourth occupant of the boat, Nick Schuyler, was found clinging to the boat. I immediately found myself compartmentalising, almost stepping outside of myself as I watched the brief news story. Last night I heard that the Coast Guard had called off the search.
This morning I had to dig deeper, learn something about what had happened. CNN reported that the boat overturned while they were trying to lift anchor. The story goes on to say that they were not wearing life jackets at the time, but that they were able to dive under the boat and retrieve them. It also says that “all four men clung to the boat for a time, but then became separated”. Schuyler, when rescued, was reportedly suffering from hypothermia and dehydration. He was rescued at 1.25 pm on Monday, probably two days after the boat capsized.
It’s been less than two months since we lost Karl and Floyd in an accident that was disturbingly similar. Having spent hours trying to imagine the scene, what happened is very vivid in my mind. Some things are terribly similar, others different. One thing that really jumped out at me was the phrase but then became separated. Rough seas, dehydration, hypothermia…it’s not a shock. Unless, of course, you know to tie yourself to the boat like Adolphus, the captain of the boat Karl, Floyd and Ryan had rented, knew to do. If these guys had known to do that, things might have turned out differently. But so they teach you than in basic water safety courses?
This recent tragedy also reminds you that things could always be worse. Only one person was rescued, instead of two. And the families of Cooper, Smith and Bleakley are left not knowing. In my opinion, it’s better to know than to hope against hope. My heart goes out to all the families, and to Schuyler, who’s left to try to make sense of his experience…
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