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Smith update: Search continues, a dark jacket found

A coast guard official said Tuesday morning the search continues for free-agent Lions defensive end Corey Smith and two other men after a dark jacket was found in the water.

“The only thing we did find several miles from the boat is one dark jacket floating,” Coast Guard Cpt. Timothy Close said in a news conference Tuesday. “There was no name on it. Our assumption is that it's related to the case.”

Smith, Marquis Cooper, Nick Schuyler and William Bleakley left for a fishing trip off Florida's gulf coast early Saturday morning. They were reported missing around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, and Schuyler was found sitting atop Cooper's capsized 21-foot boat around noon Monday.

Coast Guard officials interviewed Schuyler Monday and are expected to meet with him again today. Close said the information Schuyler provided helped “to refine the search pretty substantially.”

“At the time the boat capsized our understanding was they didn't have their lifejackets on,” Close said. “They immediately swam under the boat, no details on that, and recovered lifejackets and were able to put them on. So we know at least at one point there all four men had lifejackets on.”

Close did not say how long the search, which includes two fixed-wing airplanes and a helicopter along with sea vessels, would continue, and declined to speculate on the still missing men's chance of survival.

“Hypothermia is a very big concern at this point,” he said. “It's part of the reason that when we first got the call, knowing what the weather was and water temperatures, we hit this hard right from the start.”

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