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UPDATE: Missing teens on paddleboard located after 18-hour search

Nick Tomecek
Northwest Florida Daily News
Search crews are trying to locate two missing paddle boarders on Thursday.

The search for two teens believed to missing on a paddle board in the Gulf of Mexico was called off at 12:30 p.m. Thursday after a witness reported seeing both of them on the beach.

The paddle board, paddle and life jackets were found under a boardwalk area, according to Trevor Vallet, spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile.

"We didn't actually find them. We had a witness that said they saw the two individuals matching the description come up to beach," Vallet said.

He said the company that rented the paddle board called the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office when the teens were overdue for the 5 p.m. deadline to return the board on Wednesday.

OCSO then notified the Coast Guard, which deployed multiple boats and a helicopter. Vessels from OCSO and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also assisted in the search.

The search for the teenagers, male and female, began where they were last seen Wednesday near Pelican Island Condominiums on Okaloosa Island.

The board was located by the owner west of the condo at a building on Venus Court, according to Michele Nicholson, spokeswoman for OCSO.

The search encompassed 400 nautical miles and lasted 18 hours, according to Vallet.