Military calls off search for teens missing off P.E.I. coast
The 2 teens were reported missing when their small boat capsized Wednesday night
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.
Regrettably, based on the results of the search over the last 20+ hours, a search covering over 14.5 sq km by sea and air, and the environmental factors, the search for the two missing 17 year olds has been suspended. 1/2—@hfxjrcc
Our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to the families, friends, and community of these two young men. The case will now be turned over to the RCMP as a missing persons case. 2/2—@hfxjrcc
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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With files from Brian Higgins, Laura Chapin and The Canadian Press