An atoll leader in Tokelau where three teenagers went missing at sea says they had never ventured beyond the lagoon.
The boys, two aged 15 and one aged 14, went missing from Atafu Atoll in the early hours of Wednesday in a small aluminium boat.
The Faipule of Afatu Atoll, Kuresa Nasau, says disappeared after an annual sports tournament.
He says nobody knows what the boys were doing.
"These boys were around during midnight or one o'clock in the morning. That was the last time they were seen by other members of the community. These are very young boys. They never did experience going out into the great wide ocean. Usually they just hang around in the lagoon. This is the first time they went out into the water."
Kuresa Nasau says prayer services have been held by the boys' families and the community and says the local MV Tokelau continues to search for them.