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Coast Guard racing clock to find missing Florida teens

Posted by armen chang Sunday, July 26, 2015 0 comments

Coast Guard search and rescue teams and a Navy destroyer were racing the clock Monday to bring home two boys missing in the vast Atlantic since they left South Florida in a 19-foot boat three days ago as stormy weather approached.
Petty Officer Mark Barney told USA TODAY the primary search area was moved to an area north of where the capsized boat was found Sunday, 67 miles off Daytona Beach. The search area now continues to north of Jacksonville, which is 90 miles north of Daytona and 250 miles north of the boys' home in the Jupiter area.
"The Gulf Stream is a pretty powerful current," Barney said. "But we have quite a few people searching, and we hope we can pull this off."
Authorities said Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, were last seen about 1:30 p.m. ET Friday in the Jupiter area buying 28 gallons of fuel from the Jib Yacht Club and Marina. They were reported missing less than four hours later, after thunderstorms producing high winds, big waves and heavy rains had struck.
A commercial fisherman heading for safety said the teens were the only ones going out to sea.
“I said to myself, ‘Those kids are crazy,’” Jim Dulin toldThe Palm Beach Post. “There’s no way they couldn’t see that storm. The storm was really black, the temperature dropped and you could tell it was going to be a really mean one.”
The Coast Guard found the boat late Sunday morning off Ponce Inlet, more than 180 miles north of where the teens cast off. A rescue swimmer lowered from an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter confirmed the registration number.
The boat was not damaged and one life jacket was found on board, authorities said. The Coast Guard anchored the boat where it was found for retrieval later. The agency released a video showing the boat bobbing upside  down in the water; a diver reported some details such as the cover missing from the motor.
"That's not what you want to hear -- that the boat capsized," Austin's  mother, Carly Black, told WPBF-TV. "You want to hear that your boys are on the boat."
"We're experiencing the same roller coaster of emotions," said Pamela Cohen, Perry's mother, seated next to Black. "Not even on an hourly basis. I think it can be minute by minute."
Barney would not speculate on how long the boys could survive if they were in the water. They may have improvised a flotation device from life jackets, the missing engine cover and a white plastic cooler, according to a Coast Guard flier.
But Barney dismissed reports that they boys had set out for the Bahamas, saying they were sufficiently sea-wise to know they didn't have the supplies required for such a journey. Although the two boys frequently fish together in the Jupiter Inlet area, they were not prepared for an extended ocean outing, Barney said.


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