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This image, provided by Flagler county, shows the flight path of FireFlight during the search.
Palm Coast Wednesday, Jul. 29, 2015 5 years ago

Flagler County FireFlight helps search 150 miles of ocean for missing teens

No luck yet in trying to find Perry Cohen or Austin Stephanos.

The following is an adapted press release from Flagler County:

Flagler County’s FireFlight helicopter assisted the U.S. Coast Guard in the search for two teen boaters who went missing six days ago.

Helicopter pilot Dana Morris and flight medic George Tolbert searched 150 miles of the ocean off the Flagler County coastline and as far out as five nautical miles Wednesday morning without success locating Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos.

“We had good visibility and were able to identify dolphin, sea turtles and birds, so we feel we covered the area very well,” Morris said. “We had the doors open and a life raft. We were ready to assist them if we found them.”

The Coast Guard often asks for help searching for boats in distress or missing people.

“Flagler County is in an area where the Coast Guard has minimal resources,” said Flagler County Fire Rescue Chief Don Petito. “The Coast Guard’s air assets are in Savannah (Georgia) and Miami. Their water assets are in Jacksonville and Ponce Inlet. We’re right here.”

Morris contacted the Coast Guard Wednesday morning to offer assistance.

“I spoke with Senior Chief (Petty Officer Luis) Negron and told him I was willing to help,” Morris said. “I told him I had a tracking program that would allow me to show him where we searched.”

Morris and Tolbert searched the area for an hour and a half.

“I’ve been watching the news coverage and wanted to do what I can to help,” Morris said. 

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