Prayer vigil as hunt goes on for missing Florida boys

The US Coast Guard found the teens' 19-foot boat capsized off some 67 miles off the Florida coast. There was no sign of Perry Cohen or Austin Stephanos, who were last seen just before heading to sea on Friday afternoon.

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    A group of people hug before leaving the house of one of the two missing 14-year-old fishermen, Sunday, July 26, 2015, in Tequesta, Fla. The Coast Guard said a boat belonging to the boys has been found off Florida's Atlantic coast but neither boy was in or around the boat. Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos were last seen Friday in the Jupiter area buying fuel for their 19-foot boat.
    (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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Hundreds of family members, friends and classmates took part in a Sunday night prayer vigil for two missing 14-year-olds from South Florida who disappeared while fishing in the Atlantic Ocean.

Hours earlier, the U.S. Coast Guard found the teens' 19-foot boat capsized off some 67 miles off Ponce de Leon Inlet in Volusia County. There was no sign of Perry Cohen or Austin Stephanos, who were last seen just before heading to sea on Friday afternoon.

The Coast Guard continued searching throughout the night, using a HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane, MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and a 45-foot response boat.

The overturned fishing boat was spotted about 11 a.m. Sunday. A Coast Guard helicopter lowered a rescue swimmer who confirmed the registration numbers of the boat. Petty Officer Steve Lehmann said the boat will be anchored in place while search-and-rescue efforts continue.

Coast Guard officials said they've searched some 25,000 square miles since the boys were reported missing Friday afternoon.

Tequesta police told the Palm Beach Post that Coast Guard crews reported the "engine cover was found to be missing along with on Personal Floatation Device still on the boat."

The teens were last seen Friday afternoon buying $110 worth of gas before heading in the direction of the Bahamas to fish.

The prayer service took place at Jupiter Christian School where Stephanos has attended since kindergarten, reported The Post:

Krisse Banas, who taught art to Stephanos in the lower grades, remembers him drawing boats, fish, “anything to do with the ocean.”

“I wouldn’t say art was his talent. His God-given talent was fishing,” she said. “It was his life.” said Banas then stops to correct herself. “It IS his life,” she says, representing the community’s refusal to give up, that somehow, some way the boys are still alive.

NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath, who is Cohen's neighbor, said during a news conference that both the boys are experienced boaters.

Namath said, "We've got to believe in their wherewithal."

The families of the teens are offering $100,000 reward in the search.

 
 
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