UPDATE on status of the search follows the story.
Two 14-year-old boys are missing, apparently lost at sea, according to their moms Sunday morning, July 26, on Good Morning America. An urgent search off the coast of Florida, trying to find the two young boaters missing since Friday, has turned up nothing. Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos set off on a one-day fishing trip, and vanished. Intense winds and rain conditions in South Florida during the past 48 hours have made conditions on the ocean even worse. Helicopters, coast guards, and boats are frantically scanning more than 6,000 nautical miles off the Atlantic between the coasts of Florida and the Bahamas for the 14-year-olds who are low on food and water.
Almost two days since hearing from the boys, their mothers have become increasingly desperate to find them and have sent pleas for help from anyone who might have seen them. “Both boys have their boater’s certification,” said Perry’s mom, Pamela Cohen. “Perry has been on a boat, really, since he’s seven.” Austin’s mother, Carly Black said, “Austin, this is his fourth boat. He’s been around boats since before he could walk. We’ve been going to the Bahamas since he was eight months old.”
The boys left home early Friday morning on their 19-foot single-engine boat. They checked in with their parents by text at about 11:00 a.m. Around noon they Snap Chatted a photo of their boat and fishing gear. They were last seen at about 1:00 p.m. approximately 90 miles north of Miami at a marina in Jupiter, Florida where they bought $110 worth of fuel for the boat. They were expected to return from their trip at about 5:00 p.m. on Friday, but have not been heard from since their stop at the Jupiter marina.
More than 36 hours after they were expected home, their parents’ concern has reached a borderline panic stage. Perry’s mother said, “Both boys have siblings that are really looking forward to them coming home,” her voice breaking before she could finish the brief statement. Mrs. Black, Austin’s mom, reached over to console her with a hand on her back and a bitter half smile on her face, leaning closer. Both women showed the evidence of their stress on their faces.
The Coast Guard expanded their hunt for the teens Sunday morning. Overnight, the rough seas made the conditions for the search difficult, as well as chances for anyone to survive on those seas. The boys’ families hope for a miracle. They have raised a reward of up to $100,000 for anyone who can help them get the teens back to their families.
UPDATE as of July 27, 2015
On Sunday evening, July 26, a search led by the Coast Guard located the 19-foot boat belonging to Austin and Perry. Overnight, that boat was found overturned. The Coast Guard said life vests were onboard the boat, but there was no sign of the two teens. Throughout the night, the search continued with the situation becoming increasingly urgent. It is said to be a race against time, but there’s reason for hope of a favorable outcome. Both boys virtually spent their entire lives boating which prompted their parents to feel comfortable enough to allow them to make the trip on their own. An around the clock search for the teens only intensified Monday morning.
Football Hall of Famer and neighbor, Joe Namath, appeared with parents of Cohen and Stephanos on Good Morning America, late Sunday, pleading for the public’s help in locating and returning the boys to their families. Currently, the reward for their return remains at $100,000. Ryan Doss, Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Coast Guard said, “All indications point to someone could survive. We’ve seen it happen before.” The Coast Guard has extended their search area to now cover approximately 26,000 nautical square miles.