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Palm Coast Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019 2 years ago

FireFlight aids in search for firefighters who disappeared during boating trip

Firefighters Brian McCluney and Justin Walker had departed from Port Canaveral Aug. 16.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Flagler County FireFlight, the county's emergency services helicopter, has been aiding in the search for two firefighters who disappeared during a boating trip on Friday, Aug. 16.

Firefighters Brian McCluney, of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department; and Justin Walker, of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, had departed from Port Canaveral for a fishing trip, but did not return.

Although much of the search for the two firefighters has moved north of Florida, with boats departing to assist from Savannah and Charleston, the firefighters' tackle bag was located about 50 miles offshore of St. Augustine on Aug. 21, triggering additional searches in that area.

FireFlight was out on Aug. 21 searching for debris, according to Flagler County Deputy Fire Chief Joe King.

The Coast Guard also received a report of a possible distress signal in the area on the evening of Aug. 21, and Volusia County's Air One helicopter headed out to search. FireFlight then headed out the morning of Aug. 22, starting from Ormond Beach and searching a 12-mile grid northward, King said.

As of the evening of Aug. 21, the search had covered 90,306 square miles with an estimated 249 hours of active searches, according to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard will be suspending active searches at sunset Aug. 22, according to information posted by the USCG Southeast official Twitter handle

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