The 19-foot white single-engine boat that Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, took out off the coast of Jupiter, Florida, Friday, was found about 67 nautical miles off the coast near Daytona Beach, said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Stephen Lehmann. There was no sign of the boys on the boat, according to the Coast Guard.
A Coast Guard spokesman said one life vest was found in the hull of the boat, but the boys’ families did not know how many life vests were originally on board or if the boys would have been wearing them.
The Coast Guard has anchored the boat where it was located, and crews are searching the area off Daytona Beach, which is about 200 miles north of Jupiter, for the teens.
“This provides us an intelligent view of the currents in the area, which helps us dictate where we are going to put our personnel,” Lehmann said. “Our priority is finding these boys.”
The Coast Guard and numerous other agencies have covered nearly 14,500-square nautical miles in their search for the boys, and the families of two teenage boys offered a $100,000 reward Sunday for anyone who helps to bring them home safely.
“We think clearly that people want the boys rescued without money,” but “there is a little extra incentive beyond the norm,” Perry’s stepfather Nick Korniloff told reporters. “We’ll do anything to get our children back.”
Hall-of-Fame NFL player Joe Namath, who is Korniloff’s neighbor and said he has known Perry for 10 years, also appealed to the public for help.
“We’ll keep on looking until we find them,” the Super Bowl-winning quarterback said. “We’re all praying. … The good Lord’s gotta help us out.”
Korniloff said the teens would have never been allowed to boat to the Bahamas alone. Austin’s mom, Carly Black told NBC affiliate WPTV she’s holding out hope that the boys are alive.
“I just want them home. I know he’s coming home. I just want him home now,” she said.
Perry’s mother, Pamela Cohen echoed that she is confident the boys will be found. “We wholeheartedly believe that they are out there and alive,” she said.