Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Florida Teen Boaters

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By Elisha Fieldstadt

The search for two teenage boaters who have been missing for a week was suspended at sunset Friday, the Coast Guard said.

Coast Guard Capt. Mark Fedor stressed earlier Friday that the end of an active search does not mean the case is 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, both 14.

Fedor expressed his "heartfelt condolences" to the teens’ families and said the case was "excruciating and gut-wrenching,” when announcing on Friday afternoon the plan to call off the search.

"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.

Related: Missing Teen Boaters: Moms Still Confident Austin Stephanos, Perry Cohen Will Be Found

Nick Korniloff, Perry's stepfather, said Friday that the family has not given up, and a private air search will continue even after the end of the Coast Guard effort.

"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 along a stretch that extended from the shore of Jupiter to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

The teens have been described as experienced fishermen who spent a lot of their free time at sea.