The search for two teenage boaters who have been missing for a week will be suspended at sunset Friday, the Coast Guard said.
However, Coast Guard Capt. Mark Fedor stressed that the case is not closed, saying that crews would go out again if something was found that could possibly be linked to the Florida teenagers, Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen.
Fedor expressed he “heartfelt condolences” and said the case was “excruciating and gut-wrenching.”
“I know those statistics will not ease the pain of the families, but I hope at some point in the future they can take solace in the fact that hundreds of people searched thousands of miles because we were committed to finding Austin and Perry,” Fedor said.
The teens vanished last Friday after taking a 19-foot single-engine boat into the waters off Jupiter, Florida, for a fishing expedition. The boat was found 67 miles east of Ponce de Leon Inlet, Florida, on Sunday.
Nick Korniloss, Perry’s stepfather, said Friday that the family has not given up, and a private air search will continue even after the Coast Guard effort ends.
“We know there’s a window here and we think there’s an opportunity, and we’re doing everything we can,” he said.
The Coast Guard has covered nearly 50,000-square nautical miles and a stretch that extended from the shore of Jupiter to 270 miles east of Savannah, Georgia.
The teens have been described as experienced fishermen who spent a lot of their free time at sea.