Coast Guard: Distress Call Likely a HoaxPublished: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
The Coast Guard has suspended search-and-rescue operations that began June 11 off the coast of Sandy Hook, N.J., and determined that the call for help from the yacht Blind Date was now being investigated as a hoax. The mission began that afternoon, when Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service New York received notification that Blind Date had sustained an explosion. The distress callers had said that seven persons were injured, and 21 people had abandoned ship. Four Coast Guard aircraft and two Coast Guard boat crews joined local New Jersey and New York teams to search roughly 638 square nautical miles. The search was called off after the rescue teams found no evidence of a mishap. The Coast Guard is offering a reward up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those who may be responsible for the call, if indeed it proves to be a hoax. Persons with such information can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service at 646-872-5774 or 212-668-7048.