The Coast Guard will suspend search and rescue efforts for missing teen boaters Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen at sunset Friday.
Speaking from Miami, the Coast Guard’s Capt. Mark Fedor called the decision personally “excruciating and gut-wrenching.” However, he said the Coast Guard has the ability to reopen the case and crews would investigate any new information that comes to light.
The Coast Guard notified the family about the decision earlier this week.
Coast Guard crews have searched almost 50,000 square nautical miles from Jupiter Inlet to South Carolina since the Tequesta teens were reported missing after 5 p.m. on July 24. The boys’ capsized boat was found near Ponce Inlet on Sunday. Life vests and a Yeti cooler reported to be on the boat were not found, leading the family to believe the 14-year-olds were able to create some sort of floating device.
Reports of debris off the coast of Georgia in the past few days turned out not to be related to the search.
During a press conference earlier this week, Coast Guard officials said it was possible to survive about four to five days in warm waters. Still, the community isn’t giving up hope, noting the teens were experienced boaters with knowledge of the open water.
The families of the boys released a statement Friday, thanking the Coast Guard and other government agencies. The private searches will continue.