HUNDREDS of family members, friends and classmates took part in a Sunday night prayer vigil for two missing 14-year-olds from South Florida who disappeared while fishing in the Atlantic Ocean.
Hours earlier, the US Coast Guard found the teens’ 19-foot boat capsized 67 miles off Ponce de Leon Inlet in Volusia County. There was no sign of Perry Cohen or Austin Stephanos, who were last seen on Friday afternoon buying $110 worth of gas before heading in the direction of the Bahamas to fish.
The Coast Guard continued searching throughout the night, using a HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane, MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and a 45-foot response boat.
The overturned fishing boat was spotted about 11am on Sunday. A Coast Guard helicopter lowered a rescue swimmer who confirmed the registration numbers of the boat. Petty Officer Steve Lehmann said the boat will be anchored in place while search-and-rescue efforts continue.
Coast Guard officials said they have searched some 25,000 square miles since the boys were reported missing on Friday afternoon.
Tequesta, Florida, police told the Palm Beach Post that Coast Guard crews reported the “engine cover was found to be missing along with one personal flotation device still on the boat”.
The prayer service took place at Jupiter Christian School, which Stephanos has attended since kindergarten.
NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath, who is Cohen’s neighbour, said during a news conference that both the boys are experienced boaters. Namath said, “We’ve got to believe in their wherewithal.”
The families of the teens are offering $100,000 reward in the search.