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Yacht Hoax Response Costly to Taxpayers

Rescue officials say a search operation after a fake report of a yacht explosion off the New Jersey coast cost agencies including the Coast Guard more than $300,000 and took about five hours.

Emergency crews await yacht explosion victims at Sandy Hook Coast Guard station
Emergency crews await yacht explosion victims at Sandy Hook Coast Guard station. (WNYW TV)

The hoax was called in Monday afternoon. The caller said in a calm voice there were three dead people and nine injured people aboard a sinking yacht called the Blind Date after an explosion. He said he was calling from a solar-powered radio and there were 20 people in the water.

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Coast Guard vessels and New York City police helicopters scrambled to search for people and wreckage but found nothing.

Authorities said Tuesday hoax emergency calls cost U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars a year but there’s little they can do to prevent them.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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