Possible Yacht Explosion Hoax Off NJ Coast


sandy-hook-yachtThe U.S. Coast Guard is expected to released more information Tuesday on the reported explosion of a yacht off the coast of New Jersey that officials now believe was likely a hoax.

An investigation into the incident has began to determine who made the distress call Monday afternoon.

The call came in around 4:20 p.m. reporting that a luxury yacht called the Blind Date had exploded 17 miles off shore east of Sandy Hook. The caller said that 21 people aboard managed to get onto lifeboats, but that some were seriously burned.

More than 200 first responders rushed to scene, including Coast Guard crews, NYPD helicopters, the FDNY, New Jersey State police and Nassau County police, officials said.
But the victims were never found and confusion began to mount after rescuers couldn’t find any wreckage.

“We’re scratching our heads,” said Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Troy Loining. “I mean nobody’s confirmed it’s a hoax, yet nothing’s been found. No debris, no victims, no nothing.”

The Coast Guard is now saying that the call is being investigated as a possibly hoax that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The search and rescue operation included six medevac helicopters, 15 ambulances and two medical buses.

Making a false distress call is a felony that carries five to ten years in prison, a $250,000 fine and complete reimbursement for the entire cost of the search.

A reward of up to $1,000 is offered by the Coast Guard for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of anyone responsible for making a false distress or hoax call.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Coast Guard Investigative Service at 646-872-5774 or 212-668-7048.

{CBS 2/Matzav.com Newscenter}