THE United States Coast Guard are reporting this afternoon they have found a capsized boat 67 nautical miles off Ponce Inlet, Florida, and confirm it as the one two missing teenage boys, reported overdue after not returning from their fishing trip in the vicinity of Jupiter, Florida, were last seen on.
Austin Stephanos, 14, and Perry Cohen, 14, are missing after leaving Miami aboard a 19-foot white single engine centre console vessel. They were last seen at approximately 1.30pm on Friday after purchasing $110 worth of fuel. They were believed to have been heading east, possibly to the Bahamas, based on a social media posting by the boys.
The US Coast Guard issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast on Saturday and launched an HC-144 “Ocean Sentry” airplane and an MH-65 “Dolphin” helicopter from Air Station Miami along with boat crews from Coast Guard Station Lake Worth Inlet and Station Fort Pierce. The Coast Guard Cutters Margaret Norvell and the Paul Clark are also searching with the assistance of the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office. A Coast Guard HC-130 from Air Station Clearwater is also assisting with the search.
Rescue crews had covered more than 14,000 square nautical miles by Sunday lunchtime and had centred the search off Fort Pierce, Florida.
“Initial reports were that they went to the Bahamas, but the family says they did not have supplies for that,” said Petty Officer Mark Barney. “They did not pack water or food for two days.”
Perry’s mother, Pam Tevi Cohen, said that a $60,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the boys’ safe return.
Based on a social media posting by the boys, authorities initially believed they may have been headed toward the Bahamas, but after speaking with the parents, learned that the boys typically do not go farther than 200 to 300 feet from the marina, he said.