​Coast Guard Says Missing Sailboat Sinking May Be Hoax

Author: Kara GilmourBy:
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February 26, 2013
Also: California, California Sailboat Sinking, Coast Guard, Sailboat, Sinking

The California Coast Guard has released the audio distress call from a sailboat that was sinking in hopes of identifying the voice. However, they have now suspended the search of the four people after receiving tips that it was a hoax.

“Coast Guard, Coast Guard, we are abandoning ship,” the voice says in the crackling recording.

“This is the (Charmblow), we are abandoning ship.”

The message was sent from the 29-foot sailboat identified as the Charmblow around 5:30 p.m. local time Sunday. At the time, the boat was believed to about 60 miles west of Monterrey Bay and 100 miles south of San Francisco.

The operator of the vessel indicated that the boat did not have a working GPS system, life raft or emergency beacon. The four apparently were apparently relying on a makeshift raft cobbled together from life rings and a water cooler.

In the radio messages, the Coast Guard was only able to determine that the four included a man, his wife, their 4-year-old son and his cousin.

“There is still no information on where the boat was coming from, where it was going or who the people on board are,” said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Mike Lutz.

The agency said it hopes that someone will be able to identify the voice from the recording of the distress call.Forecasters had issued a weekend advisory warning boaters of rough seas in the area, and water temperatures typically are in the 40s and 50s, making long-term survival difficult.

Search crews continue to search the area for the sinking vessel using cutters, patrol boats, plane and helicopters.

“If they were able to cobble together their life raft based on coolers, which might have happened, that could definitely change things,” said Petty Officer Pamela Boehland, said in a statement. “Right now, we’re still searching, and while we’re searching, we’re always remaining hopeful.”

Calls to harbors in California have failed to locate the sailboat, and database searches have come up empty.

The Coast Guard was expanding its search to Hawaii, the Seattle area and north into Canada.

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