Two weeks after two teenagers went missing during a fishing trip off South Florida, the Coast Guard confirmed that the one major clue in the boys’ disappearance is also lost at sea.
The boat that Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, had been fishing from is missing, officials told NBC News on Tuesday.
The capsized vessel was found July 26 off New Smyrna Beach. It was inspected by a Coast Guard rescue swimmer and marked with a beacon, but wasn’t immediately secured.
A salvage crew went out to secure the boat 12 hours after it was discovered, but the vessel was gone.
Coast Guard Lt. Commander Gabe Somma told NBC News that the priority at the time was finding the boys.
“Once we found the boat and discovered that the boys weren’t on board, we immediately shifted gears,” he said. “When we’re dealing with lives, and somebody’s life is in jeopardy, we’re dedicating our resources to go out there and find them.”
The search for the boat continued Wednesday after being hampered by poor weather for two days, a spokesperson for the family told NBC.
The Coast Guard suspended its search for the two teens last Friday. The boys disappeared July 24 off Jupiter.
The families of Stephanos and Cohen have vowed to continue searching for the boys, but announced Wednesday that they’d be cutting off donations at the GoFundMe page that raised $477,971 to assist with a private search, according to the Palm Beach Post.