SANDY HOOK, N.J. – The U.S. Coast Guard says a report of an explosion on a motor yacht off central New Jersey is probably a hoax because it can't find any signs of distress in the water.
MyFoxNY reports that authorities received an emergency radio transmission from a boat identifying itself as the Blind Date on Monday afternoon.
Chief Warrant Officer Brandon Brewer tells MyFoxNY the caller claimed 21 people onboard the boat had abandoned ship into lifeboats because there had been some sort of explosion and the boat had sunk. The caller also claimed at least seven people were injured.
The Coast Guard searched over 600 nautical miles for several hours, but found no sign of either the yacht or the life boats.
Coast Guard Lt. Joe Klinker says it's "highly unusual" for the Coast Guard to get this 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.
The Coast Guard Investigative Service says they will investigate if the call is determined to be a hoax. Making a false distress call is a federal felony with a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and reimbursement to the Coast Guard for the cost of performing the search.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.