Firefighters go fishing and don’t return.. What happened?

2 firefighters disappeared on August 16 during a fishing trip off the Florida Coast. 

Brian McCluney and Justin Walker were last seen departing a boat ramp in Port Canaveral. According to the Coast Guard, they left on a 24-foot fishing boat and have yet returned. 

McCluney and Walker were on the way to a common fishing spot, called the ‘8A Reef’. They went offshore about 30 miles and were expected to be back around 6 p.m.  Their families notified officials after they failed to come home. 

On Monday, August 19, 135 volunteers searched over 5,000 square miles. According to Officials, the search covered more than 105,000 sq. miles, with more than 20 agencies searching, including Coast Guard, Navy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, and over 100 volunteers.

The only thing searchers found was a tackle box belonging to McCluney, located 50 miles off the coast of St. Augustine, which is over 100 miles away from Port Canaveral, 

The Coast Guard continued the search to the North of New England because the way the currents were moving.

“In my 25-year career, I have never seen a more comprehensive or larger search operation. We could not put more into this than we did.” Coast Guard commander Captain Mark Vlaun states.  

Officials made the heartbreaking decision to end the search August 22 at sundown because of the lack of new information, and the unlikeliness of success. Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Chief Keith Powers is currently raising money to support the families. Along with 3 businesses from Florida giving $30k to anyone who finds them, $150,000 has been raised.