After he drifted out to sea in a kayak, ex-South Carolina QB Chris Smelley details his harrowing experience

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Former South Carolina quarterback Chris Smelley said that he was starting to give up hope that he would be found after his kayak had drifted miles off shore while fishing.

Smelley, now a high school football coach in Alabama, was rescued after a U.S. Coast Guard search effort to find him in the Gulf of Mexico on March 28. Smelley and his family were vacationing in Panama City Beach and he had rented a kayak to go fishing that day.

However, Smelley was stranded for more than 12 hours after he had drifted out to sea because of strong winds that day. He told the Tuscaloosa News that he lost some optimism when a Coast Guard helicopter flew over him and kept going. Thankfully, he was located a short time later.

From the Tuscaloosa News:

“I turned to start paddling in a little bit,” he said. “As soon as I started my first attempt in, I knew I was in trouble.”

Smelley found himself in water that the Coast Guard says had 2- to 3-foot waves with winds approaching 10 mph, pushing him farther out into the gulf.

“It seemed real calm, but right as I got off, the wind was real strong the further I got out,” Smelley said.

Smelley made three attempts to get back to shore but was still moving backward.

“I just knew I had to wait until eventually there was a lull in the wind or a change in the wind direction to give me a chance to at least paddle back in,” he said.

Smelley’s wife contacted the Walton County Sheriff’s Office after he hadn’t returned that afternoon. A search effort soon followed.

Smelley wasn’t found until just after 7 p.m. A Coast Guard plane spotted him approximately eight miles from where he was supposed to be — he had floated over two miles offshore. A family friend with a boat who had joined in the search effort was the closest to Smelley and picked him up as the sun was setting.

“It was getting very close to…

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Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/after-he-drifted-out-to-sea-in-a-kayak-ex-south-carolina-qb-eric-smelley-details-his-harrowing-experience-135317805.html

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Publish date : 2024-04-03 13:53:17

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