Officials in New Orleans found a body in the area where New England Patriot Marquise Hill and a young woman fell while jet skiing yesterday on Lake Pontchartrain, but have not confirmed that the body is Hill's.
However, Capt. Brian Clark of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Department told the Associated Press, "The family will have to make positive identification ... but the body we found was that of Mr. Marquise Hill."
The body was found at about 2:26 p.m. today by crews who have been searching for Hill since he was reported missing yesterday evening.
Hill, a 24-year-old defensive end and native of New Orleans, was operating jet skis with a young woman on Lake Pontchartrain when they fell into a strong current, said Albert Elias, Hill's agent.
US Coast Guard officials involved in the search said they received a call at about 9:30 p.m. last night reporting screams for help on the lake. People on a boat heard the woman's screams and found her floating on a pylon. After talking with her, they learned that Hill was still in the water.
"They spotted him and then lost sight of him while trying to position the boat," Atkeson said.
The woman was taken to Tulane Medical Center, while Coast Guard rescue boat and helicopter crews searched Lake Pontchartrain near an industrial canal.
"I spoke with the girl and her mother this morning and they said he helped her stay calm. He ended up saving her life, keeping her calm until she could grab onto a buoy,"said Elias said, who added that neither Hill nor the woman was wearing a life preserver.
Patriots teammate Randall Gay of Baton Rouge, who also played with Hill at Lousiana State University, was at the scene when authorities found Hill, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He said, "I know it's going to be hard in that locker room seeing his locker" when practice resumes Thursday.
The 6-foot-6-inch, 300-pound Hill was a second-round draft choice of the Patriots in 2004, and has served as a backup for his first three seasons, appearing in 13 career games.