FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A pilot who was part of a massive search to find two missing teen fishermen told investigators he's positive he saw one floating on debris two days after their boat capsized.
According to a report released this week, Bobby Smith told Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators reconstructing the disappearance of Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos that he was flying off the Georgia coast on July 26 at about 1,000 feet when he saw two white pieces of debris tied together with an orange life jacket.
He went to 200 feet and saw a person waving his hands over his head. He said he climbed to 1,500 feet so he could radio controllers and when he went back down he could no longer find the person. The Coast Guard went to the area and also could not find anything.
The area is in the Gulf Stream about 300 miles north of Jupiter, Florida, where the 14-year-old boys disappeared July 24 when their 19-foot boat capsized during a storm.
A Norwegian freighter recovered the boys' boat last month off Bermuda, but their bodies were never found.
The report also says that a woman told investigators that she saw a boat with two boys aboard broken down about 200 to 300 yards off the Jupiter coast during the storm. Her phone records show she called the Coast Guard three times, but she said it appeared the boys got the boat started and headed off before any help arrived.
Investigators did a re-creation with the woman using a similar-sized boat and people in clear weather, and she was unable to identify characteristics about the occupants, including their gender.