Coast Guard search in Gulf of Mexico cost $1.6M

The Coast Guard spent $1.6 million searching for four men, including two NFL players, lost in the Gulf of Mexico last month, the St. Petersburg Times reports.

The newspaper, quoting figures provided by the Coast Guard, says the three-day search over more than 20,000 square miles of water required 230 combined hours of Coast Guard aircraft and boats.

Rescuers found one of the men, Nick Schuyler, alive and clinging to a capsized fishing boat. His friends, Corey Smith of the Detroit Lions, Marquis Cooper of the Oakland Raiders and Will Bleakley have not been found and are presumed dead, the Times says.

Coast Guard officials say the boaters were not carrying special emergency radio beacons to pinpoint their location, the newspaper says. Such devices, the officials say, can help narrow search efforts and lower the cost.

The Times says the Coast Guard in the district logged 1,300 search-and-rescue missions in 2008.