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P.E.I. teens missing after boat capsized identified as Alex Hutchinson and Ethan Reilly

Two 17-year-olds who are still missing after their dory capsized off Northport, P.E.I., have been identified as Alex Hutchinson and Ethan Reilly.

CBC has confirmed the identities of the teens with their families.

On Wednesday evening, three teens went out boating near the West Prince community. When their dory turned over, only one made it ashore.

A search involving close to 100 local boats and search and rescue aircraft was underway within the hour and continued through Thursday. The military called off the search on Thursday evening and handed responsibility over to the RCMP.

Given the amount of time that has passed since the boat capsized, the weather conditions and the fact the teens were not wearing life-jackets, officials said the search is now considered a recovery operation.

“We did find the boat fairly quickly on the first day that they were believed to be travelling in,” Sgt. Neil Logan of Prince District RCMP told CBC News on Friday. “We’ll continue on with the search effort today.” 

Friday, fishermen in Northport continued the search, along with community members and P.E.I. Ground Search and Rescue. 

“We’re going to do everything we can to try and find them,” said Alberton fire department captain Tom Murphy, his voice shaking with emotion. He’d been part of the search since Wednesday evening. 

“We all hope it wraps up as quickly as it can … this waiting is hard on everybody.”

rcmp dive team
An RCMP dive team arrived in Northport before dawn Friday. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The RCMP dive team arrived from the mainland before dawn Friday and set up a search perimeter in the water marked with buoys where they believe the dory overturned. As the day progresses, Logan said, they will widen that perimeter. 

“The focus really is just still to find these two boys and bring them home.” 

rcmp dive team northport pei sept 18 2020
The RCMP was early getting on the water Friday morning and set up a search perimeter in the water marked with buoys where they believe the dory overturned. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Logan also praised the third teen, a 17-year-old boy from the area, who was able to make it to shore and call for help. 

First responders told CBC News it took the young man 45 minutes to swim ashore and said wind, waves and the current were all against him. 

“Pretty amazing what he did really,” Logan said. “He swam into shore in the rough waters and managed to call 911 for help.”

Ground search and rescue continued to comb the shoreline south of Northport Friday and people in the community have been coming by to thank the RCMP and offer help. The Northport Community Centre was offering breakfast Friday morning. 

Grief counsellors were available Thursday at Westisle High School where the boys went to school. Many students, however, were on the shore helping with the search.

missing boys p e i
Alex Hutchinson and Ethan Reilly went missing Wednesday night from a fishing dory that capsized in windy conditions off the coast of Northport, P.E.I. (Submitted by Garrett Culleton)

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