Search for missing firefighters Brian McCluney, Justin Walker suspended at sunset

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax has the latest on the search for the missing firefighters from Jacksonville, Georgia and South Carolina, as well as the latest developments from officials -- watch on Action News Jax on CBS47

Thursday marked a disheartening day for friends, family, co-workers and loved ones of firefighters Brian McCluney and Justin Walker.

The U.S. Coast Guard, FBI, Navy, Air Force, Customs and Border Protection, as well as local and out-of-state fire departments, covered at least 105,000 square miles in the search for Brian McCluney and Justin Walker.

Flanked by fire department leaders and union presidents, Coast Guard Cmdr. Mark Vlaun addressed the public.

He stated the computer models are no longer promising, and the search would end Thursday night.

Related: Coast Guard, JFRD to suspend active search for missing firefighters lost at sea at sundown Thursday

An emotional Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department Chief Keith Powers echoed Vlaun's message.

"That is an extremely tough decision because we've got a brother out there that we just haven't been able to find," said Powers.

He spoke to the difficulty loved ones are facing right now.

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

"I just left the family right before we came out there and they're heartbroken," he said. "And I can't say that I feel any different right now."


The Coast Guard tells Action News Jax it has been meeting with the families along the way, offering them transparency as they face the unknown.

"Today, we actually brought in the search-and-rescue planners," said Vlaun. "The team that put the rescue together and operated out of the water. They walked them through step by step everything we knew and every action we took from there on in."

In speaking to neighbors of McCluney who know of his family, a woman who lives nearby named Sweta Jha said the community is choosing to hold out hope.

She tells Action News Jax their neighborhood is banding together, choosing to remain positive despite the uncertainty.

"Everyone is praying, and everyone is so positive that these guys will be back," she said.

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