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Dr.: Miracle That Boater Survived In Gulf

Dr. Mark Rumbak, attending physician for rescued boater Nick Schuyler, speaks to the media during a news conference Wednesday March 4, 2009 at Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Fla. NFL players Marquis Cooper, Corey Smith, and former University of South Florida football player Will Bleakley, have not been seen since they left to go fishing early Saturday morning. Schuyler was rescued Monday clinging to an overturned boat. The U.S. Coast Guard suspended a search for the remaining missing boaters Tuesday at sunset. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
A doctor on Wednesday said it's a "miracle" that a man survived being in the cold Gulf water for nearly two days after the boat carrying him, two NFL players and another man capsized off the Florida coast.

Dr. Mark Rumbak said 24-year-old Nick Schuyler is in good condition but will remain in intensive care in case there are complications. Schuyler was in 63-degree Gulf of Mexico water for around 46 hours and probably could have lived only another five to 10 hours if he wasn't rescued Monday, Rumbak said.

"To stay in the water for 46 hours and to be alive afterwards, I think it is a miracle," Rumbak said. "I really do."

The Coast Guard's search for the three others who had gone out on the fishing trip ended Tuesday. Still missing are Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, who owned the boat, free-agent NFL defensive lineman Corey Smith and former South Florida player William Bleakley.

Bleakley's mother said Schuyler gave her a harrowing account of the men's fight to survive after the boat capsized Saturday evening. Betty Bleakley said Schuyler told her the men swam back to the overturned boat after being repeatedly hurled by strong waves.

"To listen to Nick, they fought real hard to come home," Betty Bleakley said. "Nick said that all of them fought, just fought to stay alive."

Bleakley and Schuyler, college teammates, managed to stick together for about 24 hours. She says they talked about how they would live their lives differently.

The St. Petersburg Times reported that family members of two of the missing men said Schuyler told investigators that about two to four hours after their boat flipped, one of the NFL players gave up hope, took off his life jacket, and let himself be swept away. A few hours later - the second NFL player did the same.

He also told investigators, according to the family members, that early Monday, Bleakley thought he saw a light in the distance, and decided to take off his life jacket and swim to it, hoping to get help.

However, given Schuyler's condition when he was rescued at sea, the family members worried he was delusional, according to a story by the St. Petersburg Times.

CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobeilla reports that Cooper's father, Bruce Cooper, has not given up hope.

"In my heart of hearts, I believe he's out there waiting to be found," Cooper said.

They set up an e-mail address - nflsearchandrescue@ gmail - and are asking experienced pilots and boaters who can help to contact them. According to a dock owner, two or three charter boats left a marina to search for the missing men.

Don Beggs say at least one the boats that left Wednesday from St. Petersburg had family members of one or more of the missing men aboard.

The Coast Guard says it won't prevent the searches but discouraged them.