The U.S. Coast Guard says a reported explosion on a motor yacht off central New Jersey likely was a hoax and that an investigation has been launched to determine who is responsible for it.
Update, 1:40 p.m. The Coast Guard is offering a $3,000 reward for the prosecution of the person who made the false distress call. Issuing such a call is a federal crime.
Authorities received an emergency radio transmission from a boat identifying itself as the Blind Date yesterday afternoon. The caller reported the boat was 17 nautical miles east of Sandy Hook and had 21 people aboard and several people were injured.
The caller said the vessel sank but everyone aboard had made it to life rafts.
Coast Guard crews and New York City police helicopters found no sign of any people or any distress in the water.
Officials say the search cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Issuing a false distress call is a federal crime.