Second person missing off Talbot Island

Reported less than 2 hours after search called off for boy


JACKSONVILLE Fla. – The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Dive Team continued its search Monday for a 52-year-old man who disappeared in the waters off Little Talbot Island.

"The first thing, as the sun came up this morning, is we looked offshore and in the inlet area to see if we could find anyone. We also have people here on the beach, patrolling the beach, seeing if there was anything to be found. Hopefully we'll have a helicopter back out to go through the area both offshore and on the beaches," said Lt. John Conboy from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Less than two hours after the search was called off for a missing 11-year-old boy, a second rescue search was launched for the man who vanished in the surf at Little Talbot Island.

Two people were in the water -- a woman was recovered, but a man is still missing. News4Jax has learned the woman was the missing man's stepdaughter. She identified him at George Cooper, although his name has not been released by officials yet.

The search for Cooper is being labeled a recovery effort.

Fire rescue sources said the call in reference to the second search came in just before 7 p.m. At last check the search was downgraded, but not suspended.

According to rescue crews, the two were wading in the water when they went under. Three JSO officers swam out about 300 yards to the woman before bringing her back on shore.

The search for Cooper then started and several agencies were on scene to help out. They were searching by boat and by helicopter.

Rescue crews said Little Talbot Island is one of the most dangerous places to swim because the ocean bottom drops off quickly and abruptly. There are signs posted warning people about this and to stay out of the water.  

"Because of the recent events, Director Senterfitt has offered to the state park some of our resources. The Ocean life guards are under the fire department. The leader of Ocean lifeguards is going to bring some equipment over here including a lifeguard trick, a couple of lifeguards, and we are basically going to monitor what we call 'the point'. Even though there's no swimming or wading, we are going to try to help the state enforce that rule," said Chief Chip Drysdale from the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.

The JSO Dive Team will be out Monday to assist with the search. Lifeguards will also be nearby monitoring swimmers.

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