Military calls off search for teens missing off P.E.I. coast

The military has called off the search for two male teens who were reported missing when their small boat capsized Wednesday night off the coast of Prince Edward Island.

The 2 teens were reported missing when their small boat capsized Wednesday night

Classmates search for missing teens

2 years ago
Duration 0:49
'Everyone's here, looking"' for two teenage boys who went missing near Northport.

The military has called off the search for two male teens who were reported missing when their small boat capsized Wednesday night off the coast of Prince Edward Island.

The Maritime Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax says based on the results of a search of over 20 hours and environmental factors, the search for the two 17-year-olds has been suspended.

Search and rescue aircraft, coast guard vessels and dozens of local boats had been combing the shoreline of Cascumpec Bay in western P.E.I. for signs of the teens.

Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre said the decision to call off the search was made by considering factors including the water temperature, what the boys were wearing including any flotation devices and the length of time they were in the water.

"The determination was made that these two individuals likely didn't make it to shore," Owens said. 

"Our hearts and condolences go out to the family, friends and the community in Prince Edward Island for these two young men."

The case will now be turned over to the RCMP as a missing persons case.

The call for help came in about 9:30 p.m. AT Wednesday, and a Cormorant helicopter was on the scene within 40 minutes, Owens said.

There were three 17-year-old males on board the dory, a type of large rowboat, when it capsized near Fox Island.

One of the teens made it safely ashore and called 911, Owens said.

Dozens of people on foot and in fishing and recreational vessels searched the waters and shoreline of Cascumpec Bay Thursday. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The search Thursday included a Hercules aircraft and three coast guard vessels, as well as lobster boats, oyster boats and even personal watercraft from the local community. Local firefighters and other volunteers walked the shoreline south of Northport looking for the teens. 

"Unfortunately, no one was able to actually find these two young men," Owens said.

A rescue centre was set up on Fox Island, south of Northport. (Julien Lecacheur/Radio-Canada)
'It actually feels very good right now that everybody's here to help,' says Northport Mayor Wendy McNeill, thanking everyone who has dropped off food and supplies for searchers and family members of the missing teens at the Northport Community Centre. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Friends and family of the missing teens were gathered Thursday evening at the command post that had been set up at Fox Island, awaiting any news. 

A Cormorant helicopter searched the North Shore waters for the two missing 17-year-olds. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"The community response is absolutely phenomenal," Wendy McNeill, mayor of the Rural Municipality of Northport, said earlier in the day.

"It's a nice feeling to see how quickly the community came together, not just Northport — we have people from all over West Prince" dropping off food and offering to help.

P.E.I. politicians have also called offering help and support, McNeill said.

Northport mayor speaks about search for missing boys

2 years ago
Duration 1:12
Two teenage boys are missing in the water off Northport, P.E.I. Mayor Wendy McNeill speaks about the efforts underway to find them.

About 100 lobster boats in the port helped in the search, she said. "People just feel the need to be out in the water to help." 

Counselling is being offered at Westisle Composite High School, where the teens attend school and have friends, she said.

Northport is in the West Prince region of P.E.I. (CBC)

Friends and classmates of the two teens were among those searching the shoreline this afternoon.

Taylor Delaney, 17, said he's "sad, but hoping we can help out a little bit today and find them." He added he had just been talking with one the missing boys yesterday in a class they shared, and "didn't expect something like this to happen today."

The community is hurting, they said.

"Just to know they're young boys who had a bright future and something so small can happen, like that," said 18-year-old Justine Pierce. 

People gathered along the shore Thursday to help in the search or wait for news. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Brian Higgins, Laura Chapin and The Canadian Press