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Family Missing at Sea Search Called Off; ‘Possibly a Hoax’

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 26, 2013 Last Updated: February 27, 2013
Related articles: United States » West
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Family missing at sea: The U.S. Coast Guard has called off a search for a family of four who went missing off the coast of California. One captain said the incident is “possibly a hoax.”

A coast guard helicopter flies above Battery Park City on Oct. 31, 2012 in New York City. (Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

A coast guard helicopter flies above Battery Park City on Oct. 31, 2012 in New York City. (Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

A Coast Guard commander said Tuesday that a search for a family of four who went missing off the coast of California is “possibly a hoax.”

Cmdr. Don Montoro said the two-day rescue mission has costed hundreds of thousands of dollars, reported CNN. The agency was forced to mobilize several rescue boats and helicopters to conduct the search.

The family, which includes a couple, a 4-year-old, and a child no older than 8, sent out a distress signal on Sunday evening, saying their vessel was taking on water around 60 miles off the coast of Monterey, located in the San Francisco Bay Area. The boaters also said their electronic equipment was failing.

However, after a two-day search, the Coast Guard said it was unable to locate them or the remnants of the “Charmblow,” the 29-foot-long sailboat they were using.

Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Mike Lutz told The Associated Press that search-and-rescue crews could not locate the ship’s wreckage, debris, or any signs of distress.

The Coast Guard said it was not able to determine the identity of the family members, adding there were no reports of any missing persons.

“This is the Charm Blow, we are abandoning ship,” said a male voice in the final broadcast to the Coast Guard.

The water temperature off the coast of California this time of year is especially cold, ranging from 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit and means that the family’s survival chances are especially low.

The National Weather Service also issued an advisory for boaters over the weekend, saying seas are choppy along with high winds.

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