11/10/2014 09:58 EST | Updated 01/10/2015 05:59 EST

Missing Sask. teens believed still alive after weekend sighting

There are signs that five missing teenagers are still alive in northern Saskatchewan, although attempts to find them were unsuccessful on the weekend.

RCMP said on Saturday that a search plane spotted two boats on Reindeer Lake north of Southend, but the boats were gone by the time a ground crew arrived at the site on Sunday.

Since Thursday, a major search involving planes and boats, and on foot has been underway around Reindeer Lake, about 500 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.

Police received a report that the four boys and a girl, ages 13 to 17, did not return after leaving in a boat last Tuesday.

It's not clear what they were planning, although one family member says they were going hunting.

The appearance of the boats happened in the same area where the Arctic Lodge is located, more than 120 kilometres north of Southend. 

Police and a spokesman for the lodge said a cabin was damaged, with doors kicked in, but there has also been some items taken that could help the teens survive.

"It looked like there had been people in the lodge, around the lodge, and some basic items were taken including some survival items, food and fuel and things like that," Sgt. Josh Hallett said.

The next phase of the search is expected to begin Monday morning.

The search has been hampered by poor weather, with temperatures well below zero and winds gusting to 40 kilometres an hour.