Ex-star college football QB stranded in kayak for hours off Florida:…

Ex-star college football QB stranded in kayak for hours off Florida:… post thumbnail image

A former star school soccer quarterback received stranded in a kayak and spent 11 hours within the Gulf of Mexico a number of miles off the coast of Florida earlier than being rescued final week.

Alabama native Chris Smelley, 37, who performed for the College of South Carolina from 2006 to 2008, took his kayak out in Grayton Seaside, Fla., for what he thought could be a brief fishing tour about 8:30 a.m. Thursday, WBRC reported.

However the former athlete, who had embarked with out his cellphone and life jacket, quickly encountered heavy winds and was swept out about 8 miles off the coast and couldn’t return to shore.

Former College of South Carolina quarterback Chris Smelley, 37, is seen in his stranded kayak a number of miles off the coast of Florida. WBRC
Smelley talks about his ordeal within the Gulf of Mexico WBRC

“I used to be in an enormous, heavy kayak. And I received on the market and proper off the shore, the wind was simply whipping and quite a bit stronger than it was at shore,” Smelley instructed the outlet.

“I want there was a narrative {that a} large shark dragged me out or I used to be battling a sea monster – but it surely was actually simply nature – it was simply the wind,” he stated. “My physique was sitting up tall, and I used to be mainly only a massive sail. I used to be giving it all the pieces I might, and there was an extended time period the place I used to be on the mercy of the wind.”

Smelley’s spouse referred to as authorities after she grew frightened when he did not return after a number of hours.

The Walton County Sheriff’s Workplace referred to as within the US Coast Guard to assist seek for the previous QB, who’s now head coach at Sylacauga Excessive Faculty in Alabama.

Because the solar was setting, Smelley seen helicopters overhead and tried to wave at them, however he was onerous to identify as a result of he was sporting darkish garments and his kayak is painted in darkish colours.

A Coast Guard rescuer is lowered from a helicopter to the scene. WBRC

“I used to be simply type of in survival mode. I threw my fingers up and screamed,” he instructed ABC Information.

The choppers quickly noticed him, and a pal with a fishing boat was capable of attain to him first, adopted by the Coast Guard.

After his rescue, Smelley was checked out by medical personnel and reunited together with his household.

“We’re on the seaside quite a bit, and I’ve completed loads of fishing, and I’m actual comfy within the ocean,” he instructed WBRC. “I wouldn’t say I used to be essentially scared, however there was generally the place, particularly because the solar began happening, and I had seen the rescue helicopters fly over me fairly shut by a number of occasions however they didn’t see me, that I assumed I used to be going to spend the evening within the ocean.

“So I had simply caught a fish and was getting ready to wash it to provide me some power to attempt to maintain paddling again in when the rescue helicopter pulled in,” he added.

Smelley was a standout quarterback for the College of South Carolina Gamecocks. Getty Pictures

Sgt. Jeremy Fisher of the Walton County Sheriff’s Workplace stated the kayaker dealt with the state of affairs properly.

“It’s not usually that these items prove the best way this one did,” he instructed ABC Information. “Sadly, when somebody goes out with no life vest and on a kayak, they may come off the kayak and attempt to swim to shore, after which they don’t have something to maintain them afloat.”

Smelley took to social media to thank everybody for his or her efforts.

“It’s been a wild 24 hours. God is sweet! The ability of prayer was on show and was undoubtedly felt!” he wrote on X. “The outpouring of help, calls, textual content messages, feedback on social media, I really feel so blessed and liked. Sorry I haven’t responded to all. Thanks for all of the prayers and love!”

He added that it was “an extended day for me, however a lot worse for my household who handled the worst of feelings all day. This was an incredible second. God bless!!!”

The previous school participant out of the American Christian Academy in Tuscaloosa stated his spouse was “a bit upset” with him however “in a loving approach,” after he went out with no cellphone and life jacket.

“So I feel lesson discovered in simply understanding that whenever you’re going out in a state of affairs like that, security is on the high of your thoughts,” stated Smelley, who emerged from the ordeal with just a few sunburn.


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