Florida Missing Teens: Questions About Destination Surface As Coast Guard Continues Rescue Operation

Florida missing teens, Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, both 14-years-old were last seen off the coast of Jupiter, Florida when they set sail Friday, but where were they going?

The U.S. Coast Guard said Sunday that their teams spotted the 19-foot boat in which the teens had been traveling, capsized. The vessel was located 67 nautical miles (about 77 miles, or 124 kilometers) off Florida’s Ponce de Leon Inlet, Fox 6 Now reports.

The Florida missing teens’ families and Coast Guard are not giving up hope the boys will be found alive. Despite their young age, parents say the teens are extremely experienced in the water and have been taught to fear the power of Mother Nature. They do not take matters lightly when it comes to safety.

“They know the waters. They’ve been through rough water, they’ve been through thin water….Those are salty dog kids, and they know what they’re doing out there,” Perry’s stepfather, Nick Korniloff told reporters Sunday. He added that the families would stop at nothing to bring their children home.

“This is still considered an active search and rescue case, and we maintain our perpetual optimism that we’re going to find somebody,” Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Lehmann said at a news conference.

But the question in family and rescuers’ minds is, where were the Florida missing teens going when something went terribly wrong?

According to the Coast Guard early reports indicate the boys told others they planned to travel to the Bahamas. Family members say they don’t know whether that’s true or not, but their only concern is bringing them home safely.

The fact that the boat in which the Florida missing teens were traveling was found capsized, indicates that the pair is in more trouble than first believed. In addition to the overturned boat, Coast Guard found one personal flotation device, Fox News reports.

Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Mark Barney told CNN one of the Florida missing teens’ grandmothers called them when she didn’t hear from her grandson for four hours. Despite his optimism, the officer recognizes searching such a vast area is daunting.

“We’re heavily concerned for their well-being, and we’re doing everything we can do to bring them back home.

“It’s one thing for the boys to be missing inside the vessel, and it’s another thing for them to be missing in open water…Now they’re in an even worse situation if they are to be in the water right now.

“It can be very tricky, especially searching from the air. It’s a needle in a haystack out there, and that’s one of the reasons life jackets are orange, so it gives us better visibility in cases like this.”

Barney says it is unclear whether the Florida missing teens were wearing their flotation devices. NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath, a neighbor of both families, is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the boys’ whereabouts. Search crews worked overnight to look for the missing teens.

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