Family holds onto hope as search continues for three missing Georgia fishermen

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Family members of the three Georgia fishermen who went missing last week are calling on the maritime community to help with the search. Tyler Barlow, Caleb Wilkinson, and Dalton Conway went missing offshore Brunswick in mid-October.


Tyler Barlow’s parents told Action News Jax they were planning on suspending the search tomorrow. But, today the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed with them saying they will extend the search for another 24 hours.

“So, that definitely helps give us more hope,” Tyler Barlow’s dad, Chris Barlow said.

The three men went on board the Carol Ann, a 31-foot fishing boat, on Saturday, October 14th. They were due back last Thursday afternoon, but they never returned. The U.S. Coast Guard has been searching for these three men since Friday.

They were reportedly last seen 80 miles offshore of Brunswick at a fishing spot called the Triple Ledge.

Tyler’s parents, Chris Barlow and Kim Jones said he had only been on five commercial fishing trips before this one.

“He actually did not want to go in and he said he didn’t want to go, but he needed the money,” Jones said.

“So, every overdue case of the Coast Guard runs is complex,” U.S. Coast Guard Chief of Response Commander Preston Hieb said. “This one is no exception. This is a very complex case.”

Commander Hieb says the U.S. Coast Guard has covered more than 20,000 square miles over the sea and sky since the search began. Air stations from cities in North Carolina down to Clearwater and Miami are assisting

Despite no one hearing from them since they hit the waters, they have a lot of safety gear on board. This includes an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), which is a device that is used at sea to alert search and rescue services (SAR) in distress. But it has not been activated yet.

“That does give us hope that the fishing vessel was still out there disabled,” Commander Hieb said.

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“You know, how could they just disappear with a combination of everything that they have on board, right?” Chris Barlow questioned.

Now, they are calling on the maritime community to help find them.

“I swear, swear they’re sitting there anchored and just can’t move, can’t go anywhere and they’re just waiting for somebody to spot them,” Jones said.

The search continues tonight and will go on all day Tuesday.

The U.S. Coast Guard says they believe the boat may be on the Gulf Stream drifting northward towards the South Carolina-North Carolina coast.

Anyone with information that may assist search efforts should contact Sector Charleston at 843-740-7050.

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