Marquis Cooper
Photo: Clay Eavenson
PAGE 8
Around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nick says Marquis began acting differently. Though no one realized it at the time, hypothermia was wearing Marquis down. "Marquis began to get very quiet," Nick says. "So we'd be like: 'Coop! Coop!' And he wouldn't answer at first. ... Some time would pass, 10 seconds later, [he'd say], 'Yeah, I'm all right.'"

Marquis had been holding onto a cooler, which the group hoped to keep as an emergency flotation device in case the boat were to completely sink. "[He] started to lose some motor functions," Nick says. "So we had to make a decision to let go of the cooler once he started to lose some of those functions and wasn't able to fend for himself."

Nick says Marquis also began to hallucinate. "He kept saying things like: 'I need to get underneath the boat. I need to cut the rope. I need to get the anchor,'" Nick says. "At that point, I knew, okay, we're in deep trouble."

When Marquis tried to take off his life vest and swim below the boat, Nick says he and Corey had to restrain their friend. "That wasn't Marquis," he says. "That's not the kind of guy he is. The elements were definitely taking him in."

Nick says he did everything he could to keep Marquis from leaving the boat. "I positioned myself up on the boat where I straddled the motor. I had pulled him up with the help of the other guys, and I pretty much bear hugged him," Nick says. "[I told him:] 'Hold on. They'll be here any minute. Relax, Coop. You're good. We've got the anchor.'"

FROM: The Sole Survivor of the NFL Boating Tragedy
Published on March 03, 2010

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