Search intensifies for 2 missing firefighters off Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say they are ramping up the search for two missing firefighters who set out by boat last week from the state’s Atlantic coast.

Jacksonville Interim Fire Chief Keith Powers said the agency was calling for as “many boats” as could be mustered Tuesday in the ongoing search for Brian McCluney and Justin Walker. The firefighters departed last Friday on their outing aboard a 24-foot (7.3-meter) vessel from Port Canaveral.

The U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies have been searching a wide expanse of ocean between Cape Canaveral and Jacksonville off Florida’s east coast. On Monday, crews found McCluney’s fishing tackle bag some 50 miles (80 kilometers) off St. Augustine in north Florida.

McCluney works for the Jacksonville department while Walker is a master technician with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in Virginia, just outside the nation’s capital.

McCluney’s wife said Tuesday the discovery of her husband’s tackle bag has given her hope that the men will be found. In a Facebook post, Stephanie McCluney added that she believed the bag was thrown overboard by the men to help those who are searching for them.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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