Air Force Rescues Georgia Man, Coast Guard Continues Search for Another

STEINHATCHEE, Fla. – The Coast Guard is still searching for Chris Burkhalter, 37, of Macon, Ga., in the vicinity of the Steinhatchee River after his uncle, John Burkhalter, 54, also of Macon, was located aboard a 19-foot vessel at about 6:30 p.m., Thursday, 44-miles southwest of the Steinhatchee River.

A Patrick Air Force Base C-130 search plane located John Burkhalter at 6 p.m., Thursday, and a Patrick Air Force Base HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter safely hoisted him and brought him to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fla., in stable condition.

The two men left the Steinhatchee Marina at about 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, when sometime later the vessel’s engine failed. According to John, Chris jumped overboard at about 6 p.m., Wednesday, and attempted to swim to shore. Chris was reported to have been wearing two lifejackets and using a cooler top as a flotation device.

A Coast Guard 27-foot response boat from Station Yankeetown, Fla, an HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., and the Coast Guard Cutter Marlin, homeported in Ft. Myers, Fla., are continuing to search the area for Chris.

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