Published January 25, 2017
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," March 2, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Two NFL players are missing in the Gulf of Mexico, and there's a third man, as well. It has been more than two days, and the waters are very rough and cold. The players and their two friends left on a short fishing trip in Florida early Saturday morning, and one friend, Nick Schuyler, was found clinging to the boat just hours ago. But where are Oakland Raider linebacker Marquis Cooper and former Detroit Lion Corey Smith and their other friend?
Terry Tomalin of The St. Petersburg Times joins us. Terry, what can you tell me about the water, the conditions out there Saturday afternoon?
TERRY TOMALIN, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES: Well, it was calm in the morning, and that's typical before a cold front hits. About 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon, the sea started to pick up, and that's when the wind really started to blow. Most of the other boats came in by lunchtime. So when they were out there 4:00, 5:00, 6:00 o'clock at night, I'm sure it was pretty rough.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think that they were -- they were said to be about 25, 30 miles offshore in a -- like, about a 21-foot boat. Is that typical? Is that where you would fish in that area, and such a small boat?
TOMALIN: Well, I think they were probably going after amberjack. Grouper season's closed and you can't fish for snapper now, either, and it's too early for kingfish. And amberjack are typically this time of year anywhere from 25 to 50 miles offshore. That's kind of a small boat to be taking that kind of a trip, but from what I understand, the skipper had a little bit of experience and he was confident. I guess that the weather, the front hit sooner than expected.
VAN SUSTEREN: Except for they only had a single engine. And if you're going to take a 21-foot boat out that far and you lose an engine, you're in deep trouble.
TOMALIN: Right. You know, most offshore fishermen, if you're going to venture that far offshore, anywhere 20 miles out, you want twin engines. That way, you have redundancy, and if something bad happens, you always got that second engine to back you up. On a slick, calm day, when it's -- when it's nice out, you can be offshore 20 miles in a 21-foot boat, but this time of year, we get a lot of cold fronts. They hit about every 7 to 10 days, and they can really throw up some winds and kicks up the seas.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any more information...
TOMALIN: ... Kind of chilly here right now.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, I could tell that by the fact that you're wearing a jacket. I noticed that. Do you know Nick Schuyler's condition? Do you have any update in the last couple hours, the man who was rescued?
TOMALIN: No, I've got no information from the hospital. I've been working the story all day and I've been out here on the water, and you know, I think that you're going to have to wait until morning for that.
VAN SUSTEREN: I would suspect that when a boat that size tips over that far out, it'd be a good idea to get up on top of the boat and try to get out of the water because that -- that's not a boat that sinks easily, is it.
TOMALIN: No. You know, those Everglades boats were made by the same guys who designed Boston Whaler, and you literally can cut them in half and they'll still float. So even if the boat is full of water, it'll float, and you have some degree of protection there.
The boat was overturned, and that's a slippery hull and it's not easy to get up on a hull like that when it's overturned in the water. And if you are in the water, the -- your body heat is robbed at four times the rate as if you're exposed to air, so it'll slowly sap your strength. So it's really dangerous to be floating in the water out there. And it's -- it's very cold offshore. It's much colder than it is here, even in a -- closer to shore. Even with a wetsuit on, you'll get chilled within an hour.
VAN SUSTEREN: Terry, thank you...
TOMALIN: At 62 degrees...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... And we're hoping that we're going to get lucky on this story and all three are going to make it, but this is a tough search. Thank you, Terry.
TOMALIN: Me, too. Thanks.
VAN SUSTEREN: Marquis Cooper's cousin, Ray Sanchez, joins us live in St. Petersburg, Florida. He actually joins us on the phone. Ray, I can't even imagine how tough this is on your family tonight. Is everybody coming in from all over?
RAY SANCHEZ, COUSIN OF MISSING NFL PLAYER: Yes, they're going to be arriving here shortly. I'm actually at the airport picking up some family now. I'm going to be picking up some more in the morning -- throughout the day, actually, tomorrow.
VAN SUSTEREN: How experienced a boatman is your cousin? Because he's got a tough challenge right now out there in that water. Is he -- I mean, if he's a football player, he must be pretty tough, but how's his swimming? Is he -- I assume he's in good shape, and if anyone's got a chance he's got a chance, right?
SANCHEZ: Definitely. Definitely. One of our good friends, Tom Ellsworth (ph), actually, he's a trainer, very, very well in the water as far as training goes. Marquis (INAUDIBLE) been doing it since he was young. I have full confidence in Marquis and his ability to get out of this situation. At this point in time, he's just stuck in a bad spot, but he's got the willpower and a good head on his shoulders. So we have full confidence in him to be all right.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is he as -- is he safety-conscious so that you -- do you have some level of confidence he had enough life preservers in that boat when he took off so that he's likely wearing one?
SANCHEZ: Definitely, more than you would need, actually. (INAUDIBLE) extras. We have flares on the boat, also communication, a radio, but I guess that wasn't able to be used in this situation due to the circumstances (INAUDIBLE) but he definitely comes prepared when we go out on the water. Safety first (INAUDIBLE)
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you ever gone out fishing in that area with him?
SANCHEZ: I have before. Correct.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I take it that he -- I mean, that he's -- he knows how to handle the boat, not that it makes much difference at this point, but that he's an experienced boatman.
SANCHEZ: Very experienced. And as far as the boat-handling skills, I must say they're serious. He's actually very good at handling and maneuvering with the waves and throughout (ph) the waves, whatnot. So as far as handling skills (INAUDIBLE) expertise on the water, you know, very, very good.
VAN SUSTEREN: How's the family holding up?
SANCHEZ: The family -- it's a rough time now, rough time. I mean, they're waiting for a while now. Spirits are still high, of course. We try to keep the spirits way up there, as far as the family goes. We want everybody to definitely (INAUDIBLE) definitely keep saying prayers because we know we're going to find our family, as well as the other two gentlemen -- the other two gentlemen out on the water, as well.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the Coast Guard, they do great work, so at least -- you know, that's the one sort of, you know, really good news, you got the Coast Guard on your side on this one. Ray, thank you very much, and we're hoping for good breaking news, you know, any minute on this. We want to hear good news on this one. Thank you, Ray.
SANCHEZ: Thank you.
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