Coast Guard, fire department to suspend search for missing firefighters at sundown

Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) – A representative with the United States Coast Guard made the difficult announcement Thursday that the search for the missing firefighters will be suspended at sundown.

Multiple agencies and many volunteers have spent the week searching for missing Jacksonville firefighter Brian McCluney and Fairfax firefighter Justin Walker. The two were last seen taking off on a fishing trip out of Port Canaveral Friday, August 16.

“We have simply reached the point where our computer modeling and our ability to search in a given location are no longer allowing us to search with any reasonable degree or probability of success,” Coast Guard Captain Mark Vlaun said. “I have made the extremely difficult decision today that we will suspend the active search tonight at sundown.”

Holding back tears, Jacksonville Fire Chief Kurtis Wilson said the fire department will also be suspending their search at sundown.

When the Coast Guard suspends a search, Vlaun said they never stop operating.

“We will remain ready, relevant, and responsive,” he said.

Until sundown, Wilson said boats out of Savannah, Ga. and Charleston, S.C. will be covering about 4,000 sq. miles. Additionally, three aircraft units will be covering areas north and south of Charleston.

______________________________

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21 UPDATE:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) – The Coast Guard is moving its search further north for the missing firefighters who haven’t been seen since going on a fishing trip near Port Canaveral Friday.

Multiple agencies and many volunteers have spent the week searching for missing Jacksonville firefighter Brian McCluney and Fairfax firefighter Justin Walker.

The Coast Guard said over 100 crew members covered more than 5,000 square miles Wednesday in search for the boaters, but unfortunately nothing was found.

The Coast Guard said it will reevaluate its search efforts Thursday morning, but admitted that time is really becoming an enemy.

The search is expected to move as far north as North Carolina.

If you would like to donate to the search effort, you can do so by going to JFRD.com.

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