A massive search continues in Florida for two firefighters, one of them from Fairfax County, Virginia, who never returned from a fishing trip on Friday.
The U.S. Coast Guard said crews were using two 87-food boats and a search plane to try to find Justin Walker and Brian McCluney.
Walker, a master technician for the Fairfax County Fire Department, went boating with his friend Brian McCluney near Port Canaveral on Friday, the Coast Guard said in a news release on Saturday. McCluney is a firefighter in Florida.
“I do remain hopeful, I remain extremely hopeful. I believe they’re alive. We’re keeping hope alive,” Ron Kuley, the president of Fairfax County Professional Firefighters and Paramedics, told News4 on Monday.
Walker's friend and fellow firefighter Rob Blasetti says he's also hopeful.
“Justin is very resourceful and, as I said before, if anybody’s gonna wiggle themselves out of this situation, and it’s a big situation, he would,” Blasetti said.
Blasetti says he has been receiving updates about the search.
“It starts settling in as you start talking to people and see how big this problem is and what kind of scope and size ... the rescue effort’s gonna be,” he said.
Walker and McCluney were last seen leaving the 300 Christopher Columbus boat ramp in a 24-foot center console boat heading toward "8A" reef, according to the Coast Guard.
A surveillance photo shows them at the ramp Friday morning.
Family members told Coast Guard watchstanders when the men didn't return as expected Friday night and authorities have used multiple boats and a search plane to try to find them.
The Navy has also participated in the search.
“I did not imagine private volunteers hiring aircraft to go out and search for my brother and Justin. But they’re doing it so everybody out there on the water is looking for them right now. That’s the best we can do,” McCluney's brother, Kevin McCluney, said over the weekend.
Authorities are asking anyone with information to call the Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville Command Center at 904-714-7558.