BANGOR, Maine — Members of the Down East Emergency Medicine Institute, an Orono-based volunteer search-and-rescue group, are assisting in the search for the two Florida teens who went missing on July 24 when their boat capsized during a storm they encountered while fishing off the Florida coast.
Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, were last seen after buying fuel for their fishing boat in Jupiter, Florida, according to published reports. The Coast Guard found the boys’ boat capsized about 67 miles east of Daytona Beach.
Richard Bowie, Down East Emergency Medicine Institute operations director, said Monday that the group was brought into the search effort at the request of the stepfather of one of the teens on Friday, when the Coast Guard withdrew from the search.
Bowie said the the families of the missing teens learned of Down East Emergency Medicine Institute through one of its members, Susanne Kynast, who was in Florida at the time assisting with the search. He said Kynast’s expertise is in the areas of hydrology and currents.
Bowie said that another member, Julie Jones, and her tracking dog, Quincy, of VK9 Search and Recovery was flown to the Georgia coast on Monday to determine if a life jacket that washed up on shore belonged to the missing boys.
Bowie said that he is helping to coordinate the search by air from Orono and that Down East Emergency Medicine Institute’s imagery analysts are reviewing photos taken from aircraft being used in the effort.
As of Tuesdsay night, a GoFundMe page created by the families of the missing boys had generated more than $470,000 in contributions toward the search.