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Missing boater identified, search continues following Buckman Bridge crash

The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office says Walter Williams was reported missing after his boat crashed into the Buckman Bridge Wednesday.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — The boater who disappeared Wednesday when his vessel crashed into the Buckman Bridge has been identified.

The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said Walter Williams was reported missing after the boat crashed and capsized. Williams was reportedly returning home after having the boat serviced, the sheriff's office said in a Facebook post.

The Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department said the boat was going at a "fast speed" when it struck the bridge. Witnesses said the boater was not wearing a life vest.

Since the crash, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, along with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the SJSO marine and air unit have been searching the area, but Williams has not yet been located, the post says.

Due to the swift currents at the crash site, boaters and people living along the St. Johns River are asked to keep an eye out for anything that may be linked to the search. Williams was last seen wearing khaki pants and a white and brown plaid shirt, similar to the one pictured below.

Credit: St. Johns County Sheriff's Office
The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office says Walter Williams is the boater who disappeared after his boat crashed into the Buckman Bridge Wednesday.

MISSING BOATER: This past Wedneday, St. Johns County resident, Walter Williams, was reported missing following a vessel...

Posted by St. Johns County Sheriff's Office on Friday, October 2, 2020

JFRD said it was towing the boat to NAS Jacksonville so it could be searched in case the boater was still inside, such as trapped in an air hole. 

JFRD said the design of the boat made it difficult to get to NAS Jacksonville, so it was tied to a mooring buoy while divers continued to look for any sign of the person.

Anyone with information related to the crash or who sees anything that may help investigators locate Williams is asked to call FWC's hotline at 1-888-404-3922 or your local law enforcement agency.

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