What began as a relaxing fishing party became a harrowing tale of death and survival against unfathomable odds. On Saturday February 28, 2009, 24-year-old Nick Schuyler and three football friends - Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, 26, Lions defensive end Corey Smith, 29, and Will Bleakley, 25, a teammate from the University of South Florida - sailed away from Tampa Bay for a day of fun in the Gulf of Mexico. But 35 miles off the coast of Florida, their 21-foot boat flipped, hurling the four athletes into the rough water. For more than 12 hours, the foursome gripped the boat as the temperature dropped to 60 degrees and the waves climbed to more than 10 feet. Donning the life jackets Bleakley bravely retrieved from inside the overturned craft, the friends passed the time swapping stories of loved ones and memories from the gridiron. Yet to Schulyer's horror, he watched as one by one, Marquis then Corey, and finally his best friend Will succumbed to hypothermia brought on by the choppy seas and cold temperatures. As the hours lengthened, Schuyler held each man in his arms as they passed, powerless to save them.
Alone, Schuyler tenaciously clung to the exposed propeller of the boat overnight until the Coast Guard miraculously discovered him 45 hours after he was tossed into the Gulf's waters. Though he had been wearing thicker clothing than his friends-a hooded sweatshirt, ski cap, and pants that he'd donned after feeling seasick - Schulyer too suffered severe hypothermia and lacerations along his thighs and torso-and most tragically, the guilt of being the only man to survive. In "Not Without Hope", Schulyer shares the full story of the accident for the first time. Recounting the events that led up to the fateful day and the four lives that became inextricably intertwined, he relives those intense 45 traumatic hours and probes the psychological and physiological depths he endured to survive. In addition, he tells the remarkable tale of the search and rescue mission that saved him. An incredible tale of courage, grief, strength, and love, "Not Without Hope" is an unforgettable true story of one man's incredible survival and a moving tribute to the friends he lost-and will never forget.