Coast Guard Says Sandy Hook Yacht Explosion Report Likely A Hoax
The United States Coast Guard is treating the report of an exploding yacht in the waters east of Sandy Hook as a hoax.
The Coast Guard will discuss yesterday's incident at a press conference on Tuesday and their investigation into who made the distress call.
Once the call for report of an explosion on the yacht Blind Date off Sandy Hook came in around 4:20PM on Monday afternoon, dozens of rescue organizations from New Jersey and New York scrambled into action.
PREVIOUS: Sandy Hook Report Of Exploding Yacht
"More than 200 first responders assembled mass casualty receptions areas in Newark, and Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook preparing to receive the reported injured passengers,” said Cmdr. Kenneth Pierro, of Coast Guard Sector New York.
Monday's search 17 miles east of Sandy Hook included two Coast Guard boat crews and four Coast Guard helicopter crews, who searched approximately 638 square nautical miles. Response units from New York City Police Department, Fire Department of New York City, New Jersey State Police and Nassau County Police Department also conducted searches in the area.
The Coast Guard says that making a false distress call is a federal felony with a maximum penalty of five to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and reimbursement to the Coast Guard for the cost of performing the search.
There is already a standing reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of anyone responsible for making a false distress or hoax call to the U.S. Coast Guard. Anyone with information regarding false distress calls is encouraged to anonymously contact the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service at 646-872-5774 or 212-668-7048.
Coast Guard and other state and local agencies responded to more than 60 suspected hoax calls in the northern New Jersey, New York City and Hudson River region in 2011.
A 2 HOUR SEARCH TURNS UP NOTHING
The caller who reported the explosion claimed the vessel sank but everyone aboard had made it to life rafts. But Coast Guard crews and New York City police helicopters found no sign of any people or any distress in the water, and after two hours of searching it became increasingly clear there was no explosion.
About three hours on, emergency crews began leaving the mass casualty staging areas that had been set up to receive the reported injured passengers, and nearly five hours after the distress call was received the Coast Guard confirmed it was likely a hoax.
As doubt began to set in about the Blind Date, Jersey Shore Hurricane News, reported they spoke to the listing agent for the yacht. Sandy from Merle Wood & Associates told JSHN that the last she heard, "the boat was on a dock awaiting shipment to the Mediterranean Sea."
Coast Guard Lt. Joe Klinker says it's "highly unusual" for the Coast Guard to get his kind of position and get there quickly but not locate anything or see any sign of distress. He says it's unclear if a yacht called the Blind Date exists.
No area hospitals or the Coast Guard have received calls from loved ones who knew someone on board the Blind Date.
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