CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - The U.S. Coast Guard continues to search an area stretching almost half of Florida's Atlantic coast for two firefighters who went missing while boating.
The Coast Guard said Monday the search expands from Cape Canaveral to Jacksonville for Brian McCluney and Justin Walker who were heading toward a fishing spot known as 8A reef. The boaters were supposed to have returned Friday.
RIGHT NOW: Search plane with Natasha Walker - wife of fireman missing at sea - is getting ready to take off to continue the mission to find Justin Walker and Brian McCluney. They were last seen on Friday. #Fox35 🛩 pic.twitter.com/1AdVDjWKKS— Amanda McKenzie (@AmandaMckNews) August 20, 2019
Late Monday afternoon, authorities said that a tackle bag belonging to McCluney was located about 50 nautical miles east of St. Augustine.
The Coast Guard says it's searching by boat and air, and that 10 crews scoured 24,000 miles (38,600 kilometers) over the weekend.
"We put 36 boats out on the water today and about 135-plus people," said Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department Chief Keith Powers. "We also aircraft out with us today, helping as well."
McCluney works for the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. Walker is a master technician for the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in Virginia. Jacksonville fire officials say 50 firefighters assisted in the search on 11 boats over the weekend.
"This is still absolutely a rescue mission. We're talking about a decorated combat veteran here. We're talking about a firefighter-paramedia. These guys have the skills to survive," Powers added.