Home / National News / A Look at Coast Guard's 30,000-Square-Mile Search for Florida Teens Lost at Sea


(TYBEE ISLAND, Ga.) — The U.S. Coast guard released new video Wednesday of a “first-light” search near Tybee Island, Georgia, from a C-130 aircraft over an region where it investigated the sighting of a cooler originally thought to be from the boat of two Florida teens who have been lost as sea for nearly six days now.

The cooler was later found not to be related to the search for Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, who were reported missing after not coming back from a fishing trip last Friday afternoon, the Coast Guard said. The teens’ boat was found capsized, damaged and abandoned Sunday off the Ponce de Leon Inlet in central Florida, authorities said.

“What makes the search difficult is the amount of space that we have to cover,” Coast Guard Lt. Tommy Myers told ABC News Wednesday. Myers was on the aircraft on the search at dawn Wednesday, travelling around 200 miles an hour searching for the tiniest of objects.

The search for the boys was ongoing, the Coast Guarded tweeted Wednesday. Officials said they had searched nearly 31,000 square miles as of Tuesday evening in the approximately 500-mile stretch from Jupiter, Florida, to Charleston, South Carolina.

“We continue to search for the missing boys,” said Capt. Mark Fedor, chief of response for the Coast Guard 7th district in a statement. “We’re constantly re-evaluating the situation to determine our next course of action, however as each hour goes by, the situation becomes dire.”

The teens could likely survive about four or five days in the water in current conditions, Coast Guard Captain Mark Fedor told ABC News on Tuesday. Authorities said they were hoping the boys were clinging to a cooler or life jackets that were apparently on board.

“I truly believe in my heart that they’re okay, Stephanos’ mother Carly Back told ABC News. “They’re both extremely strong, strong, young men.”

Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath, a neighbor of the families who’s known the boys for years, said Sunday he’s confident that the boys “know what they’re doing” at sea.

“Austin’s been sharp and on the water a good while,” Namath said. “Perry is just as sharp as can be.”

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