Coast Guard crews search for sinking boat

PORTLAND, Maine- Multiple Coast Guard crews from Maine and Massachusetts searched for a boat today that was reportedly sinking near Hampton Harbor, Maine.

At 2:58 p.m., Coast Guard Sector Northern New England received a mayday call from someone reporting their vessel was taking on water in the Hampton River and that they needed help.

A 47-foot and 25-foot boat crew from Coast Guard Station Merrimack River along with another 47-foot boat crew from Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor launched to search for the distressed crew.

A Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod and several local agencies also responded.

The Coast Guard crews blanketed the seach area for about four hours, but found no signs of the vessel or crew. There was no debris in the search area and there has not been any correlating information consistent with a missing boat and crew.

“We are very concerned about anyone who may have been in distress in this case,” said Capt. Jim McPherson, the commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England.

He said considering the danger the search crews faced, and the time and money spent on the search, he hopes it wasn’t a hoax. He estimates the cost for all of the Coast Guard units involved adds up to almost $54,000.

If anyone has any details about this case, they are urged to call Coast Guard Sector Northern New England at 207-767-0303.

“We need help from the public to identify the voices on the radio call to help clarify the nature of distress,” said McPherson. “If this was a hoax, we want to be able to find the individuals who prompted this search.”

Hoax distress calls to the Coast Guard are classified as a felony and is punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Click here for audio file of distress call

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