USCG will suspend the search for Perry Cohen and Austin Stephano - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

USCG will suspend the search for Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos at sunset Friday

PICTURE BY US COAST GUARD SOUTHEAST PICTURE BY US COAST GUARD SOUTHEAST

TEQUESTA, Fla. - The Coast Guard is suspending its search for Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen at sunset.

The case is not closed. If new information comes to light the Coast Guard said it has the ability to reopen the case.

"So I do want to express my heartfelt condolences to the family. I met with them on Wednesday. Obviously they're going through a traumatic time. I just want to express my heartfelt sympathy to them," said Coast Guard Capt. Mark Fedor.

The 14-year-olds were last seen a week ago Friday on a boat at the Jupiter Inlet. The Coast Guard found the boat Sunday 67 miles off the Ponce de Leon Inlet.

Just shy of 50,000 nautical square miles had been searched as off noon Friday, the Coast Guard said.

"But I hope at some point in the future they (the families) can take solace from the fact that hundreds of people searched thousands of miles because we were desperately committed to find Austin and Perry," Capt. Fedor said.

The families said they will not give up searching until Austin and Perry are rescued.

The families released this statement following the Coast Guard announcement:
 
On behalf of both families we would like to thank the US Coast Guard and other Federal government and local agencies in their relentless efforts to search and rescue our boys. Our families would also like to thank Chief Elg and his entire staff of the Tequesta Police Department for all of their continued efforts in the safe return of our boys.

Our families have been informed that the continued search and rescue efforts will be suspended at sunset this evening. We also have been ensured that the case is not closed and if pertinent details emerge or credible information comes forward that we will have the assistance of the US Coast Guard to investigate this information.

Our families’ are committed to continue the search and rescue efforts of our boys with the aid of volunteer pilots and aircraft. We would like to thank Mr. John Travolta and countless others for their immediate assistance and personal concern for the rescue of our children, and we are extremely appreciative for the aircraft and pilots that they have donated for the rescue of our boys. We have established "The Perry & Austin Rescue Fund" which will continue to be utilized to fund private aircraft, boat fuel and any other additional resources needed for the immediate recovery of our missing boys.www.gofundme.com/perryandaustin  

We encourage those who are interested in joining the search efforts by land, air or sea to contact the following email address: findperryandaustin@gmail.com  

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our families, friends, neighbors, colleagues, community, along with strangers from around the globe for your prayers and thoughts as well as all that have contributed to the Perry and Austin Rescue Fund to ensure the boys safe return. In addition, we would like to thank our dear friend and neighbor Mr. Joe Namath for his support, friendship, concern and efforts in helping create awareness surrounding the safe return of Perry & Austin.

Congressman Patrick E. Murphy released this statement:

"On behalf of the Jupiter community I am humbled to represent, I have a simple message for the Coast Guard:  Keep looking.  Water temperatures are warm, and Austin and Perry know the water well, 

"Our community is incredibly grateful for the Cuttermen, Aviation Crewmembers, and Search and Rescue Planners of the Seventh Coast Guard District, who are scouring the Atlantic Coast for Austin and Perry.  It has been long, thorough, and exhausting.  But the search is not over.  I urge the Coast Guard in the strongest possible terms to continue searching until our boys are found," Rep. Murphy said. 

 

EARLIER:

A seventh night of searches for the two Palm Beach County boys passed with no major break.

The Coast Guard says crews are still scouring waters from Florida to South Carolina on Friday but haven't found any new clues in the disappearance.

The Coast Guard says it'll keep searching until it believes there's no reasonable chance the boys could still be found alive. Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss described the search early Friday as ongoing and says he has nothing new to report.

The families of the youngsters say Austin was wearing a black long-sleeve shirt and Perry was wearing a white short-sleeve shirt at the time of their disappearance.

They are urging boaters who might find the clothing or a cooler they had to mark the coordinates.

In addition to the Coast Guard search the families have created a mini operation center in their homes to coordinate private planes from Florida to South Carolina who are looking for Austin and Perry.

“We have created a full command center with the mission of finding the boys. We cannot just wait by the telephone and wait for someone to give us an update every two or four hours. We are on a full engaged mission to also find these boys,” Perry’s mother Pamela Cohen said.

The mothers are hopeful the boys made a raft with life jackets and a cooler -- and are still alive.

"We're all positive, spirits are still high," said Austin's uncle Matt Kuntz. "We're very focused on finding these two boys."

He said 20 private planes are still in the air.

"The support's been phenomenal to find these two boys," Kuntz said. "We're going to actively continue searching for them."

#BreakingNews 24/7 search coordination for missing 14YO boys continues in @USCGSoutheast command center in #Miamipic.twitter.com/wdjSCMEP1P

— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) July 30, 2015

It's unclear exactly how long the Coast Guard will continue searching past Thursday but a petition online has already been created with thousands of signatures urging the search to go on.

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