NJ yacht hoax response cost more than $300,000

Associated Press
Deputy Commander of Coast Guard Sector New York Capt. Gregory Hitchen speaks during a news conference in New York, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. The Coast Guard says a reported explosion on a motor yacht off central New Jersey likely was a hoax and that an extensive search and rescue operation cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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NEW YORK (AP) — Rescue officials say a search operation after a fake report of a yacht explosion off the New Jersey coast cost agencies including the Coast Guard more than $300,000 and took about five hours.

The hoax was called in Monday afternoon. The caller said in a calm voice there were three dead people and nine injured people aboard a sinking yacht called the Blind Date after an explosion. He said he was calling from a solar-powered radio and there were 20 people in the water.

Coast Guard vessels and New York City police helicopters scrambled to search for people and wreckage but found nothing.

Authorities said Tuesday hoax emergency calls cost U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars a year but there's little they can do to prevent them.

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