TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Pacific distress call tragedy or cruel hoax

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, 8:54 p.m.
 

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — The Pacific Ocean either swallowed an adventurous couple and two young children aboard a sailboat off the Monterey coast this week, or someone played a cruel hoax that wasted Coast Guard resources and tugged at the hearts of coastal residents over two days of desperate searching.

The Coast Guard on Tuesday called off the search for a boat that reportedly sank in rough seas far off the Central California coast, saying nothing more could be done and that the family's distress calls might have been a hoax.

“We've exhausted the possibilities,” Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Mike Lutz said. The Coast Guard is treating the incident as a rescue, with the possibility the calls came from a trickster. Neither the family nor the boat has been reported missing.

Crews started looking for the family by sea and air upon receiving an initial distress call on Sunday afternoon, when the boaters said their 29-foot sailboat was taking on water and their electronics were failing. The 42-hour search involved hundreds of rescuers from the Coast Guard and the California Air National Guard. A Hercules C-130 four-engine turboprop aircraft buzzed above the seas, while helicopters, cutters and lifeboats plied the waters, as costs soared into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The sailboat had no working GPS system, but investigators used its radio signal and radar to determine the call came from an area about 60 miles west of Monterey, where strong winter winds, cold water and big swells made for perilous conditions. Forecasters had issued a weekend advisory warning boaters of rough seas in the area.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. FBI agent, 2 others sentenced in contractor kickback scheme in Utah
  2. Appalachian miners wiped out by coal glut they can’t reverse
  3. Benghazi panel formally requests private interview with Hillary
  4. Indiana governor wants changes to religious-objection law
  5. Experts skeptical of N.D.’s new oil train safety checks
  6. Obama vetoes union election bill; streamlined election process to move forward
  7. Despite high gas costs, Northeast resistant to pipelines
  8. Mining for tourists? A dubious economic savior in Appalachia
  9. Santorum: Obama opposition to fossil fuels ‘quasi-religious’
  10. Gun used by agent who helped jail Capone headed to museum
  11. Mysteries of dark matter come to light in Science study