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The military says it has suspended its search for two teens who were reported missing when their small boat capsized Wednesday night off the coast of Prince Edward Island.

“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,” the Maritime Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax said Thursday in a post on Twitter.

“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.”

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Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens of the rescue centre said the ships and aircraft involved in the search were returning to their bases.

Earlier Thursday, Northport, P.E.I., Mayor Wendy McNeill said residents from the West Prince area were using everything from fishing boats to kayaks to help look for the boys.

“Anybody that can get on the water for any reason whatsoever, they’re out there,” McNeill said in an interview. “It’s just unbelievable to see the amount of people out there searching.”

The rescue co-ordination centre said another young man on the boat and made it back to shore Wednesday night, placing a 911 call at 9:28 p.m.

Owens said a Cormorant helicopter was immediately dispatched to the scene off Fox Island, near Alberton, P.E.I., and it was joined by several coast guard vessels and a C-130 Hercules aircraft.

He said the military made the decision to suspend the search after assessing the survivability of being in the water that long and drift patterns.

The Northpoint Community Centre was set up earlier with food and drink for people searching on the water and the shore. McNeill said residents brought in supplies for volunteers and made cash donations to be used as needed.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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