Coast Guard suspends search for man who fell overboard near Blount Island

Jacksonville, FL. — UPDATE 11/23/2020 8:55 p.m.: The Coast Guard has suspended the search for 42-year-old Oziel Martinez.

In a press release from the Coast Guard they stated:

“The loss of a fellow professional mariner is especially difficult and our sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends and co-workers,” said Capt. Mark Vlaun, commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville. “We ask that all mariners keep a sharp lookout while transiting the waterways near Blount Island and to call our command center at 904-714-7555 with any reports of new information. Thank you to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO), Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department (JFRD) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for their rapid response and partnership throughout this challenging search.”

UPDATED STORY 11/23/2020: Family identified the man as 42-year-old Oziel Martinez, a loving father, and a husband who has worked in the maritime industry for more than 20 years.

His cousin Ruben Martinez said he was working the night shift when he disappeared.

“It has been more than 24 hours we haven’t had any sign of anything, so we don’t know what to expect at this point….we are praying for the best, that is all we can hope for.” Martinez said.

The Coast Guard said they have searched extensively from the entrance of the river to Goat island.

Martinez has not been found.

ORIGINAL STORY 11/22/2020: The Coast Guard is searching for a man who went missing after falling overboard near Blount Island.

They are searching for a 42-year-old-man who fell into the water while transiting from the vessel to a barge not wearing a lifejacket and did not resurface.

The Coast Guard was notified around 3 a.m. Sunday morning.

Also searching are crews from Florida Fish and Wildlife, Jacksonville Fire and Rescue, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and dive units.