The Coast Guard and Navy are searching Wednesday for three commercial fishermen who vanished near Georgia after heading out to sea 11 days ago, with one family member saying they “firmly believe that God has got them” and they are drifting somewhere in the Atlantic. 

The Carol Ann’s captain, Dalton Conway, departed the port city of Brunswick on Oct. 14 along with two crew members, Caleb Wilkinson and Tyler Barlow. The Coast Guard said it launched its search Friday after hearing from the ship’s owner that he “hired a crew of three people that failed to return on Wednesday as scheduled.” 

“We don’t want this search to end, because we do firmly believe that God has got them and they’re just out there floating and drifting,” Kim Jones, Barlow’s mother, told the Savannah Morning News.  

Chris Barlow, Tyler’s father, also said to the newspaper that the Coast Guard was planning to call off the search Tuesday at sunset – but after the Navy provided additional resources, it has been extended until Wednesday evening. 

Carol Ann missing ship

The missing 31-foot fishing vessel Carol Ann. (US Coast Guard)

The Coast Guard said Friday that the owner of the 31-foot vessel Carol Ann “stated the crew extends fishing trips to maximize their catch but was growing concerned due to their last communication with the crew being six days ago.” 

As of Tuesday, more than 32,000 square miles have been searched for the missing fishermen, while aircraft from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and boat crews from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources have been involved in the effort, it added. 

Conway’s sister, Stevie Conway, said her younger brother is an experienced boat captain who has made hundreds of trips to catch fish for local merchants and restaurants. 

“My brother goes anytime the weather is good,” Stevie Conway told The Brunswick News. “This is his career. He does this for a living.” 

Coast Guard searching for Carol Ann

The Coast Guard is searching for the Carol Ann, which left Brunswick, Georgia, on Oct. 14. (USCG Southeast)

Stevie Conway said people on another boat reported seeing the Carol Ann on the water Thursday, but otherwise, no one has heard from the fishermen since they departed. 

“We’re really stressing at this point,” she added. “They should have been back by now. We’re concerned. These mothers love their babies, and we want them to come home.” 

Jones said it was Barlow’s fifth trip and that he and Conway, both 24, are friends with Wilkinson, who is the boyfriend of Conway’s sister, according to the Savannah Morning News. 

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Jason Erickson of Coast Guard Sector Charleston also told WLTV-TV that the boat was equipped with an electronic beacon designed to send a distress signal if it becomes submerged. 

Carol Ann search area map

The area that has been searched so far for the Carol Ann, according to the Coast Guard. (USCG Southeast)

“We have not received any beacons that have gone off,” Erickson said. “That’s a reason to be hopeful.” 

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