FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/AP) — A pilot who took part in the massive search for two Tequesta teens who vanished at sea believes he may have spotted one of them two days after they disappeared.
In a 100-plus page report released this week by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, pilot Bobby Smith says he thinks he spotted one of the boys about 25 miles north of the Florida/Georgia line off St. Marys, Georgia on July 26th.
According to Smith it was his granddaughter, who was with him, who spotted what looked like two white pieces of debris tied together with an orange life jacket.
Smith said they circled it several times and dropped down to about 200 feet above the water to get a better look. He said they saw a small person, laying on their back, raising their arms.
He said he climbed so he could radio the Coast Guard his GPS position. Smith said he went back down but could no longer find the person. The Coast Guard went to the area and also could not find anything.
On the morning of July 24th, 2015, Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen — both 14 — left Jupiter Inlet on fishing trip and never returned.
Lengthy searches by the Coast Guard and private pilots failed to find the teens or their bodies.
In March, a Norwegian cargo ship spotted the teen’s 19-foot boat near Bermuda and recovered it. Onboard were Austin’s phone and some fishing gear. The iPhone has major salt water damage.
The families hope it holds clues as to what happened.
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