- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—TEQUESTA — A search for two teenage boaters — missing since Friday — continues Tuesday and the Coast Guard search area now has been extended farther north, to Savannah, Georgia.

Three Coast Guard cutters and a C-130 airplane are searching from Cape Canaveral northward, said spokesman Anthony Soto.

Currently “there is no set timeframe” for how long the search may last, he said. It continued throughout Monday night.

Meanwhile, two local residents flew their own search mission up the Florida coast on Monday, but they didn’t find the missing teenage boaters.

Off-duty Jupiter Island Public Safety Department Officer Christopher Caplan and volunteer pilot Conner Walsh, 18, flew between Stuart and Jacksonville, going in and out from the coast to about 30 miles.

“Unfortunately they didn’t locate the boys,” said Jupiter Island’s Assistant Chief Scott Bovee.

Caplan and Wash might try to fly again Tuesday, Bovee said. Caplan raised $5,000 to pay for airplane fuel.

On Sunday, the teens’ overturned 19-foot boat was found 67 miles east of Daytona Beach in the north-flowing Gulf Stream.

It was around midday Friday that they went out the Jupiter Inlet on what was supposed to be a short fishing trip, according to Coast Guard officials. Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen haven’t been heard from since, as parents and friends continue praying for their return.

SOCIAL MEDIA

On Facebook: A public group is set up on the social media site for information and discussion. Search “Find Austin & Perry.

On Twitter: #findaustinandperry

Shortly after they left the inlet, a line of thunderstorms — with wind gusts of 40 mph — headed toward them in the Jupiter Inlet, according to the National Weather Service.

When the boat was found on Sunday, neither boy was around it. One life vest was found at the boat. One was missing, as was the boat’s engine cover, a shell that could have been used as a floating device.

“We don’t know how many life jackets were in the boat,” said Coast Guard Lt. Commander Mark Fedor, “but we are hopeful that maybe they both have life jackets on.”

If you are flying to look for the lost teenagers, here is a map of the Gulf Stream (outlined). The black dot is…

Posted by ROFFS Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service, Inc. on Monday, July 27, 2015

As of late Monday, rescue crews had searched 27,000 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean — an area about the size of West Virginia — by air and sea along Florida’s coast, he said. “Each search pattern is calculated specifically for where we think … the boys may be,” he added.

“We’re looking for two boys and when a person is in the water, you’re basically looking for the chest up so it’s a relatively small object that you’re looking for,” Fedor said.

Coast Guard officials have kept the boys’ family members updated on search efforts.

“It’s been torture; just torture,” said Austin’s great-aunt Norieta Stephanos. “She (Austin’s mother) wants them home, she wants to hold them, hug them, you know, make everything better.”

BOATING SAFETY TIPS

* Kids on boats need to be able to swim

* Info key to good ‘Mayday’ call

* How to file a float plan

* Be safe and skilled

* Set a course for safety

* The Accident Pyramid

* Boating education proof

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials were to examine the boat for clues on what may have happened to the boys.

A large contingent of Coast Guard searchers, accompanied by a U.S. Naval ship and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials along with several local agencies have joined in the search.

“It’s been an all hands on deck type of effort, we will continue to search aggressively,” Fedor said. “I have a 13-year-old son and a 14-year-old son at home so this resonates obviously with me, and I can empathize with the families that are involved.”

MORE

* Safe boating is more than just a one-week affair

* Lost at sea: How to increase one’s odds of rescue

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(c)2015 the Treasure Coast Newspapers (Stuart, Fla.)

Visit the Treasure Coast Newspapers (Stuart, Fla.) at www.tcpalm.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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