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Coast Guard Searches Florida Coast For Two Firefighters Missing At Sea

The Jacksonville and Virginia firefighters were on their last fishing trip before selling the boat

It’s been over 48 hours since the missing Port Canaveral boaters were due back from their fishing trip.

Rescue efforts are still in full swing as the Coast Guard and multiple other agencies and volunteers do everything they can to locate Brian McCluney and Justin Walker.

U.S. Coast Guard Southeast has continued to post updates to their Facebook page as new information develops.

UPDATE: Coast Guard and partner agency crews will be searching through the night w/ surface and air assets for the…

Posted by U.S. Coast Guard Southeast on Sunday, August 18, 2019

They thought they had caught a big break in the search when sightings of a similar vessel and debris were reported. They both turned out to be unrelated to missing firefighters.

More than 20,000 square miles have been covered in the search so far.

“If they’re in the gulf stream, their drift becomes faster and so that extends out the amount of locations to where they could be,” said Captain Jim Suber.

UPDATE: Coast Guard assets are on the scene of where the civilian aircraft reported seeing a similar boat. No boats…

Posted by U.S. Coast Guard Southeast on Sunday, August 18, 2019

Even though they’ve been missing for over 2 days, there’s still a good chance the men are fine.

“Well you can drift, it depends on what your provisions are,” Suber continued. “If you brought plenty of water you’re gonna get hungry and (hopefully) you brought enough snacks. But you know a good, healthy man can last a pretty good while in a boat just floating as long as they’re out of the water and not in the water, where in the water where hypothermia and sun and all the factors start coming into play.”

UPDATE: A civilian aircraft reported seeing a vessel matching the description of the Port Canaveral boater's vessel…

Posted by U.S. Coast Guard Southeast on Sunday, August 18, 2019

UPDATE: U.S. Coast Guard and partner crews continue to search for the overdue #PortCanaveral boaters. Crews have…

Posted by U.S. Coast Guard Southeast on Sunday, August 18, 2019

“We’re saturating the area,” Petty Officer 1st Class Luke Clayton said early Sunday. “They’re considered overdue. We’ve had no radio communication or GPS pings. We’re trying to find them so we can bring them back home.”

UPDATE: Current Coast Guard crews searching for the overdue Port Canaveral boaters are two 87-ft patrol boats, two…

Posted by U.S. Coast Guard Southeast on Sunday, August 18, 2019

Stephanie McCluney is still very hopeful her husband and his friend will be found safe.

“I have an army that is just holding me and bathing me in prayer,” she said at Jetty Park. “We’re holding prayer vigils, we’re up all night.”

The community has shown support in a big way as numerous people have come to help through searching and offering support.

UPDATE: We are still searching for the 2 missing boaters off Port Canaveral with multiple air and surface assets. We've…

Posted by U.S. Coast Guard Southeast on Sunday, August 18, 2019

“The Coast Guard will continue efforts by boat/radar throughout the night,” she wrote on Facebook.

“I’m desperately calling on all my prayer warriors. I am confident we serve a big God who holds these men in His hand and will guide them to us. As we approach the night I covet your prayers for peace and comfort.”

The U.S. Coast Guard and multiple law enforcement agencies are searching for two men who didn’t return home from a Port Canaveral fishing trip.

Brian McCluney, a firefighter and paramedic with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, and Justin Walker, a firefighter with the Fairfax County Fire Department in Virginia, launched their 24-foot center console boat from the Christopher Columbus boat ramp on Friday morning and haven’t been seen since.

Image: Brian McCluney

The two men were taking one last fishing trip before selling McCluney’s fathers boat, who died a few weeks ago.

“The boat was my father’s, who passed away last month, so the plan was to sell the boat,” McCluney’s brother, Kevin said. “But he wanted to run it one last time to get some fishing done as a sendoff for my dad.”

“You know when something bad like this happens, everybody talks about how good that person is — and he is,” District Chief Patrick Gouin said. “He would help anybody out, he would do anything for anybody. Very good at his job, very conscientious.”  

Searching for everyday heroes and waiting to be rescued

McCluney’s brother notified the Coast Guard when no one had heard from the two men by sundown.

“They’re usually in by dark,” said McCluney’s wife, Stephanie McCluney. “Six o’clock is (the) time they’re usually in port. We give extra time. If fishing is good, they stay out longer. We didn’t hear from them, couldn’t get ahold of them by cellphones.”

“I really am confident it’s mechanical failure. They’re out there drifting. That’s my belief now,” Stephanie McCluney continued. “Coast Guard said they haven’t seen any debris fields. (They’re) just waiting for someone to come find them.”

Rescue crews have searched roughly 4,400 square miles as of post time.

“They’ll continue to search until dusk, then reassess. We have so many family and friends out in boats. We’re active in the fishing community,” Stephanie said.

The 7th District U.S. Coast Guard tweeted that the search will continue throughout the night in a tweet posted around 8 p.m.

Anyone with information concerning the missing firefighters should contact the Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville Command Center at 904-714-7558.

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