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A search is underway for three missing fishermen near Matanzas Inlet, where a possible life raft was spotted almost a month after the trio disappeared off the coast of Brunswick in October.
On October 14, 2023, three fishermen, identified as Tyler Barlow, 24, Caleb Wilkinson, 26, and Dalton Conway, went out on a four-day commercial fishing trip aboard the Carol Ann before they disappeared off the coast of Brunswick. Shortly after, the United Cajun Navy joined the search for Barlow, Wilkinson, and Conway.
However, authorities who failed to find the trio reportedly found debris from their fishing boat consisting of a fish box and the buoy balls 16 miles off the coast of St. Augustine on Sunday, November 19.
In the wake of the discovery, authorities renewed the search for the three missing fishermen. In a social media post on Monday, November 20, the United Cajun Navy announced that a possible life raft was spotted near Matanzas Inlet, adding search would resume on Tuesday with two airplanes, a helicopter, volunteer boaters, beach walkers and the US Coast Guard.
However, authorities have not confirmed if the life raft spotted near Matanzas Inlet belongs to Carol Ann or the missing men.
Authorities urge boaters to search the Matanzas Inlet area for the three missing fishermen
As the search for the three missing fishermen continues, a Facebook account, Bring Our Boys Home, dedicated to the three men, asked boats to search the Matanzas Inlet area off Florida’s Atlantic Ocean coast because a “possible life raft had been spotted.”
“We need boats, planes and beach walkers out searching Matanzas Inlet inshore and Ocean Side south to Flagler Beach. A possible life raft has been spotted. The US Coast Guard has been notified and is assisting. THIS HAS NOT BEEN CONFIRMED as the Carol Ann life raft yet. THANKS to everyone assisting and sharing information.”
Meanwhile, Action News Jax Alexus Cleavenger, who spoke with Kim Jones, missing fisherman Tyler Barlow’s mom, reported that she believed that the missing fishermen were on the life raft.
“I believe that my son, our children, our sons are in a raft. The fight that I’m expecting them, our boys to fight with every bit that they’ve got. I’m going to do the same,” Jones said.
Jones, who launched a GoFundMe campaign shortly after her son disappeared, has been relentlessly searching for the three men despite the Coast Guard ending their search last month. On the fundraising Page, Jones pleaded for donations so they could pursue the search through private search organizations.
“Our sole mission is to bring these young men home! In an effort to do that, we are solely relying on donations to fund the private resources to assist us.” She added “We know that each of you is standing firmly right beside us and not giving up on finding our boys. Again, we thank you for your willingness to contribute to bringing our boys home. Please also share and spread the word.”
As family members feverishly search for the missing men, the Coast Guard put out an urgent alert to all mariners in the Matanzas Inlet area to keep an eye out.