• 'People have lasted longer than 4 days at sea': Family, friends, neighbors don't give up on search

    By: Courtney Cole , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Family members, friends and total strangers have not given up on Justin Walker and Brian McCluney.

    On Wednesday night, the race against time to find them continued. The Coast Guard is staying on the water overnight Wednesday, but as the search area expands, they say they're struggling, hoping to find something.

    Volunteers will head out at sunrise on Thursday, but the search is shifting north.

    Action News Jax reporter Courtney Cole spoke to one of the dozens of volunteers on Wednesday who told her it was a somber first day of joining in on search efforts, but that he did the best he could for his brother.

    Steve Maynard drove up 3 1/2 hours from Ocala to be a part of Day 6 of the search efforts for Brian McCluney and Justin Walker.

    He was one of the 100 volunteers that Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said participated out of Jacksonville.

    Two other men joined Maynard on his boat when he arrived at Mayport Marina Wednesday morning.

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    "I don't even know these two guys. Literally, I met them here on the boat. They jumped on the boat with me and helped and worked all day," Maynard told Action News Jax.

    One of guys was Ken Moncrief.

    "I saw your full story yesterday, and I don't always catch the news, and I saw it and it just kind of touched my heart yesterday," Moncrief told Cole.

    Moncrief, a Navy veteran, said he figured his background in search and rescue would be helpful during the search.

    "A lot of times, people don't know what to look for," Moncrief said.

    The three men worked together to make sure they had all their bases covered.

    In a picture Maynard gave Cole, you can see how they were positioned in the front, sides and top of the boat.

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    "I assumed he had something to signal with and those are things I was looking for when I was out there. A signal mirror can be seen up to 50 miles away you know? " Moncrief said.

    "We found some debris, but it's all trash. But none of it was anything that would be a clue," Maynard told Action News Jax.

    The Alachua County Sheriff's Office captain said he felt especially compelled to help his brother after seeing some family pictures on Facebook.

    "There's pictures of one of the firefighters with kids. They're on a boat and enjoying themselves. Seeing that, I knew I had to come here," Maynard said.

    The Coast Guard said there is no deadline on when the search will end, but by Thursday morning, they say they're going to have to have a conversation about whether the active search will continue.

    Moncrief said based on his experience, he's optimistic they can still be found.

    "It's a mindset for the people that are out there. People have lasted longer than four days at sea."

    As he left the Mayport Marina, bags in hand, on Day 6 of a trying day of searching, Moncrief wanted to make sure Cole gave this message to the families: " Don't give up. Don't give up. Trust in God. Trust in your family members. Don't give up."

    The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and the Coast Guard said they're in critical times right now.

    That means continued support from the community is vital.

    If you have a boat that can withstand a range of 50 to 60 miles off shore, they need your help. Call Chief Barrow at 904-813-5315 at 7 a.m., Thursday morning, for more information.

    More information on how you can help in the search can be found on JFRD.com.

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