New Jersey Hoax Call Strikes a Familiar Chord

Mike Schuler
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June 20, 2012

The “Blind Date” yacht seen tied up in Florida just two days prior to the apparent hoax call reporting its demise.

A suspected hoax distress call made earlier this month about a yacht explosion off the coast of New Jersey may be connected to a similar “unresolved” distress call made in the Houston, Texas area in May, the U.S. Coast Guard says.

On June 11th, Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service New York received a distress call at approximately 4:20 p.m., reportedly from the master of the yacht “Blind Date“, stating the vessel suffered an explosion with 21 people aboard.  The call sparked a massive, multi-agency search, along with a brief media frenzy, but in the end turned up no evidence that any such explosion occurred.

Now, after a thorough investigation, the USCG Investigative Service in New York is saying that the call may be connected to similar unresolved distress call in the Houston, Texas area, made on May 20, 2012, drawing a number of similarities between the two.

The USCG says that both land based calls were made directly to the Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service.  Strange, considering the “captain” status the caller identified himself as.  It was found that that same terminology was used in both the Houston and New Jersey case with the caller specifically stating they were “taking on water,” referencing to passengers as “souls,” and use and context of the word “beacon”.   The caller in both cases gave very specific locations of distress and distances, while at the same time exhibited unfamiliarity with the area and using atypical references to location.

While no firm connection has been made between the two calls, Coast Guard officials remain suspicious that there may be a connection and will continue with their investigation.  The USCG again stresses that false distress calls are no joke, and can be punishable by jail time and a large fine.  There remains a $3,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the New Jersey case.

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