Search continues off Fla. coast for 2 missing firefighters
The U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies searched about 24,000 square miles looking for the missing boaters
By Lisa Maria Garza and David Harris
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The search continued today for two off-duty firefighters who went missing Friday on a fishing trip from Port Canaveral.
The boaters, Brian McCluney and Justin Walker, left a ramp near Jetty Park in a 24-foot center console and were headed toward 8A reef. They were supposed to return Friday evening and a family member called the Coast Guard when they didn’t come back.
.@USCG crews are searching for 2 overdue boaters near #PortCanaveral. Brian McCluney and Justin Walker were last seen Friday and reported to be going to the 8A Reef. #HappeningNow #BreakingNews— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) August 17, 2019
More here: https://t.co/taBQUtaplm pic.twitter.com/jjRClGlwtw
The U.S. Coast Guard along with the Brevard County Sheriff, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Navy searched about 24,000 square miles through Monday morning via boat and plane since late Friday to no avail.
Amazing work! https://t.co/J8yJsVNDKL— MyJFRD (@JFRDJAX) August 19, 2019
Volunteers joined the agencies in searching the coastlines of south Georgia to Port Canaveral. For a short period on Sunday afternoon, there was hope that the boat had been spotted.
Waiting on assignments..... pic.twitter.com/h6UnmnqUjd— MyJFRD (@JFRDJAX) August 19, 2019
The pilot of a private plane told authorities about a possible sighting of a vessel matching the boat’s description but that turned out to be a false alarm.
The civilian pilot reported the vessel sighting about 50 miles east of Jacksonville, the Coast Guard said.
After the tip from the civilian pilot, a Coast Guard search plane diverted and located a cooler and life jackets in the water. But the debris did not belong to McCluney or Walker.
#UPDATE 6: @USCG and partner crews continue to search for the overdue @PortCanaveral boaters. Crews have investigated a reported debris field 50-miles east of St. Augustine, but confirmed it wasn't in relation to the boaters. #HappeningNow #BreakingNews pic.twitter.com/aUMjYAawKt— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) August 18, 2019
McCluney is a firefighter and paramedic with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and Walker is a firefighter in Fairfax, Virginia.
🙏🙏🙏Brian McCluney is a firefighter and paramedic with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. He and another firefighter from Virginia, Justin Walker, remain lost at sea. https://t.co/Rq7ZrnnGPl— AMANDA WILLOWS (@amandadavis222) August 18, 2019
On Sunday morning, about 50 firefighters launched 11 boats and joined the search for the missing men out of Vilano Beach and Daytona Beach.
Want to know about our bond with each other? These are the times that we come together to accomplish amazing things...we have about 11 boats with nearly 50 firefighters assisting @USCGSoutheast with search out of Vilano and Daytona beach this am. #jfrdstrong #fairfaxfirefighters pic.twitter.com/SWe4Gm3NFJ— MyJFRD (@JFRDJAX) August 18, 2019
“Want to know about our bond with each other? These are the times that we come together to accomplish amazing things,” the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department tweeted.
Authorities said they are widening the scope of the search in the area.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville Command Center at 904-714-7558.
The Jacksonville Association of Firefighters set up a donation page for the volunteer search efforts and families of McCluney and Walker.
©2019 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)