The Coast Guard suspended its search for Corey Smith, Marquis Cooper and Will Bleakley last night and now begins the mourning, the healing and all the "what went wrong?" wondering.
Nick Schuyler is making a full recovery from his ordeal and investigators are trying to piece together evidence from his shaky memory. Add in the leaks and misunderstandings from family members and the media and the whole story becomes very muddled. For example, a friend of Schyuler's says that Nick told him that a helicopter flew right above them on the first night of the search and he could even see lights from the shore—which is unlikely since he was found almost 30 miles from the coast.
The most disturbing story comes from the St. Petersburg Times, which reports that Schuyler told investigators that the other three men he was with all took off their life jackets before being separated from the group. The report says that several hours after their boat capsized, one of the two NFL players took off his life jacket and allowed himself to be carried away by the waves. Several hours later, the other man did the same thing. Then, a day later, Bleakley thought he saw a light in the distance and tried to swim for it, but took off his jacket before doing so.
Of course, it's also highly likely that Schuyler himself became delusional and is remembering incorrectly. Floating in the middle of ocean with no water or food will do terrible things to your mind. It's doubtful that we'll ever really know exactly how the men ended up in the water or what happened to them once they were there. Still, it's a miracle that even one was able to survive.
Coast Guard to suspend search for three missing boaters at sunset today [St. Petersburg Times]
Tank Johnson asks for public's help in missing boaters search [KTLV 7]
How Are People Lost at Sea Found?: Scientific American [Scientific American]