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Niagara County sheriff's deputies hope to mount a helicopter search of Lake Ontario's shoreline today for signs of six teen-agers who disappeared in a boat March 16 just east of Toronto.

Capt. Bruce Wright of the Sheriff's Department Marine Unit, said he came up empty-handed Thursday after patroling the lake by boat. The department began the search after a gas tank that appears to be from the teens' boat was discovered Wednesday on the shoreline near the intersection of Lake and Dickersonville roads, Wright said.

Meanwhile in Durham, Ont., Niagara Regional Police held a press conference to announce the finding of the gas tank and to say investigators have "pretty well confirmed it is the same tank that was on the boat."

"There's very little doubt," Staff Sgt. Bill Van Doleweerd said Friday. "It had a dent in it like the one on the boat. It had English and French on it. It was a Yamaha make."

Van Doleweerd said the likelihood that the boys, ages 16 to 18, are still alive is slim. If they drowned, their bodies would not not surface until the lake warms up.

The boys, who had been drinking, apparently decided to steal a boat in Pickering, Ont., and took it out for a joyride.

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