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Police: capsized boat of missing Florida teens found; 'no souls on board'

By Doug G. Ware and Andrew V. Pestano
Austin Stephanos (right) and Perry Cohen, both 14, did not return from a fishing trip off the coast of South Florida on Friday, triggering a massive search by the U.S. Coast Guard. Former NFL quarterback Joe Namath announced a $100,000 reward in the case Sunday. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard / Stephanos, Cohen families
Austin Stephanos (right) and Perry Cohen, both 14, did not return from a fishing trip off the coast of South Florida on Friday, triggering a massive search by the U.S. Coast Guard. Former NFL quarterback Joe Namath announced a $100,000 reward in the case Sunday. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard / Stephanos, Cohen families

JUPITER , Fla., July 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday found the capsized boat of two teenage boys who have been missing for days off the coast of southern Florida as the search continues.

Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, told relatives they were going on a fishing trip Friday off the shores of Miami. When they did not return, concerned family members called authorities. The teens' white, 19-foot boat was found on Sunday near the Ponce de Leon Inlet, about 100 miles north of where they began their trip, according to the Sun Sentinel.

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The boat had "no souls on board," according to Tequesta Police.

The Coast Guard has been looking for the boys with a search plane, a helicopter and multiple vessels for two days, but have so far come up empty.

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The boys were last seen about 1:30 p.m. EDT Friday at a filling station near Jupiter -- a suburb north of Miami -- where they purchased more than $100 worth of fuel, the Coast Guard said.

In addition to a HC-144 "Ocean Sentry" airplane and an MH-65 "Dolphin" helicopter, both from Air Station Miami, three Coast Guard cutters are also participating in the search.

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The Palm Beach Sheriff's Office is also assisting in the search, officials said.

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The Coast Guard said it would search throughout Sunday for the boys. So far, rescue crews have covered nearly 15,000 square nautical miles.

The Coast Guard said a social media post by one of the boys indicated they may have been headed toward the Bahamas.

Former NFL quarterback Joe Namath, who is Cohen's neighbor and personally knows both boys, held a news conference with relatives on Sunday and offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the teens' return.

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"We will keep on looking until we find them," the Hall of Fame New York Jets quarterback said. "We are all praying ... The good Lord has got to help us out."

"We think, clearly, that people want two boys rescued without money ... [but] there is a little extra incentive beyond the norm," Cohen's stepfather, Nick Korniloff, said. "We will do anything to get our children back."

Authorities are also asking for help from the public, encouraging witnesses to contact the Coast Guard.

"I just want them home," Stephanos' mother, Carly Black, said.

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