Search for American Samoan teens called off

The search for the two cousins missing off Utumea beach in American Samoa has been called off.

It had been extended to midnight beyond the 72 hour search period which finished at 2pm yesterday.

The local senator Fai'ivae Iuli Alex Godinet said a big problem with the search had been the length of time getting the patrol boat to Utumea from its base at Fagatogo.

He said if there had been a boat based at nearby Leone they would have found the cousins well before the search period was up.

Fai'ivae said it may not have saved their lives but it would have given closure to the families.

Speaking from Leone, the senator said there had been a commitment in the fono four years to build a boat ramp but this had not happened.

"It only takes about 10-minutes from here to go to where it's happened. It takes almost 45-minutes to an hour for the boat to come from Fagatogo to there (Utumea) and when they're low on fuel they have to go back there and come back so it takes another really two to two and a half hours."

He said there had been a warning in place due to rough and high sea conditions.

The families of Alex Peric and Anthony Leota were yesterday maintaining a vigil at Utumea Beach as a coastguard vessel continued its search off-shore.