airboats search Lake Jesup for 2 missing men

 
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published: 31 December 2012
by: Susan Jacobson, Orlando Sentinel

The search for two missing boaters on Lake Jesup, Florida, is now a recovery mission.

“We have nothing to suggest they’ve survived this incident,” Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Lt. Jeff Hudson said Monday.

Lake Jesup

Family and friends of two missing boaters conduct their own search Monday, December 31, 2012 on water on Lake Jesup and on land by ATV’s. The two men have been missing since 1h00 Saturday.

Volunteers Monday used airboats on the lake and all-terrain vehicles along the shore of Lake Jesup in Seminole County to search for Charlie Jackson and Jason Cobb.

Jackson, 26, of Deltona and Cobb, 30, of Osteen disappeared after launching Jackson’s fishing boat from a marina at Black Hammock Adventures about 1 a.m. Saturday, investigators said.

Wildlife officers were notified about 3:30 p.m., a few hours after a friend of the men found the 15-foot Bass Tracker near Bird Island, commission spokeswoman Joy Hill said.

Cobb’s sister Amanda Goodwin, 25, of Melbourne late Monday said family and friends are remaining optimistic.

“We’re still hoping and praying,” she said. “We know they’re alive.”

Friends plan to meet at 8 a.m. Tuesday at Black Hammock Adventures — the site of a restaurant, airboat-ride business and alligator exhibit — and search the north side of the lake in airboats. They searched the south side Monday.

Wildlife officials also plan to continue their search, which began Saturday. They have been using sonar and a Seminole County Sheriff’s Office helicopter equipped with heat sensors to try to find the men in one of Central Florida’s largest lakes, which ranges from 6 inches to 6 feet deep and is full of alligators.

Wildlife officials said two life jackets, two paddles, eight unopened beer cans and one partly empty can of beer were on the boat when they found it.