Coast Guard Suspends Search For Two Missing 14-Year-Old Boys In Florida
The Coast Guard suspended its eight-day search for Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos at sunset Friday. They were last seen on July 24 leaving a marina in Jupiter, Florida.
The Coast Guard said Friday it has suspended its search for two 14-year-old boys who went missing at sea on July 24 in Florida.
Coast Guard Capt. Mark Fedor said the decision to call off the search for Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos was "excruciating and gut-wrenching."
The Coast Guard, he added, would reopen the case if new information came through.
After the search had been suspended Friday evening, Coast Guard Capt. Mark Fedor said in a statement that "our deepest condolences go to the families and all affected."
The families of Cohen and Stephanos reported the Tequesta teens missing around 5 p.m. last Friday. The pair had gone fishing in a 19-foot, single-engine boat, which had been seen leaving a marina around 1:30 p.m. ET after the teens bought $110 worth of fuel.
The Coast Guard conducted a large-scale eight day search and rescue effort spanning nearly 50,000 square nautical miles. The boys' families had also urged the community to never give up hope in searching for their boys.
Cohen's stepfather, Nick Korniloff, told WPTV on Monday: "This is about our children. We have to keep going."
The boys' capsized boat was found two days after they were reported missing.
The Coast Guard found their capsized boat about 65 miles off the Florida coast. One life jacket was also found near the boat.
Fedor gave his "heartfelt condolences" to the families saying they were going through a "traumatic time."
He said the Coast Guard's decision to extend the search through Friday took into account uncertainty about when the boys may have gotten into the water, as well as their ages and their "combined will to live."
The U.S. Navy also provided assistance to search for the missing boys.
"We reached the limit for effective search and rescue efforts," Fedor said in Friday's news conference.
Both boys were experienced boaters, according to their families.
Fedor said the decision was "particularly painful" because a lot of the people involved in the search had children who were the same ages as Cohen and Stephanos.
The Tequesta Police Department said Friday it would continue to handle the missing person's case for the incident.
"The case will remain open until we have sufficient information to help bring closure to the family members of Perry and Austin," the department said in a statement.
The Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will be conducting the vessel casualty while the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children will continue to help with the case, the police said.
Cohen's mother, Pamela Cohen, posted a message on Instagram early Friday: "Let's go boys... As the sun rises another day, it is a mothers prayer that you will be safe and sound in our arms today."
She had earlier urged boaters and pilots to look out for missing items from the boat which she believed the boys used to make floatation devices.
A $100,000 reward had been offered for the boys' safe return.
Supporters of their families include former NFL star Joe Namath, who is a neighbor of Cohen.