A family of four radioed the Coast Guard on Sunday from off the California coast that their ship was sinking and that they were abandoning ship. According to the San Francisco Gate, after an extensive 48-hour search, the Coast Guard believe the distress call might have been a hoax. Here’s what you need to know.
An identified man radioed the Coast Guard Sunday afternoon from a position 65 miles off the coast of Monterey, California and said that his 29-foot sailboat was sinking with him, his wife, his four-year-old son and the boy’s cousin on board, reports the Daily Mail. The man said that the boat was taking on water and that the electronics were failing and they were trying to construct some sort of life raft. Listen to the distress call above.
2. Coast Guard Called off Search on Suspicion of a Hoax
The Coast Guard said on Tuesday that it was calling off the search because they believe that the distress call might have been a hoax.
“We’re not investigating it directly as a hoax, but we are pursuing every avenue,” Cmdr. Don Montoro said. “It’s certainly a possibility.”
3. Crews Found No Debris or Physical Signs of Distress
After searching for nearly 48 hours, the Coast Guard found no signs of debris or signs of physical distress. They were also unable to identify the family and no one has come forward with recognizing the the man’s voice after releasing the distress call to the public.
4. The Mission Has Already Cost Several Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars
The Coast Guard sent C-130 Hercules planes, helicopters and boats to track down the missing family over a 20,000-square-mile area. Montoro said that the cost of the search effort has already reached tens of thousands of dollars.
5. A False Distress Call is Punishable of Up to 10 Years in Prison
Fake distress calls use up resources and put rescuers at unnecessary danger. A hoax call is punishable of up to 10 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine as well as reimbursement costs for the rescue search.