Coast Guard suspends search for possible sinking vessel off Cape Canaveral coast

USCG file photo

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The Coast Guard suspended it’s search pending further developments at 9 a.m. Tuesday, for a possible vessel taking on water and sinking approximately 30 miles east of Cape Canaveral Sunday.

Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville, Fla., watchstanders received a distress call via VHF radio at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday reporting that a vessel, a Contender boat, was taking on water and quickly sinking. All communication was lost with the people aboard before a location was passed to the Coast Guard.

Initially, a Coast Guard HH-60 rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., and a 45-foot response boat medium rescue crew from Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral deployed to search for the sinking vessel.

The Coast Guard only suspends a search when rescue coordinators and crews are confident they’ve exhausted all reasonable efforts to find a survivor. Rescue crews scoured the search area with a variety of surface and air assets using nine separate overlapping search patterns and covering a combined 2,166 square miles.

“Although no additional information was received from any source indicating a vessel was in actual distress, the Coast Guard doesn’t have an indication that this was a deliberate hoax call,” said Capt. Drew Pearson, Seventh Coast Guard District chief of incident management. “If we determine that it was a hoax call and can identify who was involved, we may pursue additional legal action against those responsible. Hoax calls endanger our crews, keep our resources from conducting other important missions and cost our taxpayers money.”

Assisting in the search were:

A C-130 long range surveillance aircraft crew from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C.

Two HH-60 rescue helicopter crews from Air Station Clearwater, Fla.

An HU-25 Falcon Jet crew from Air Station Miami

A 45-foot response boat medium rescue crew from Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral, Fla.

Two 47-foot motor life boat crews from Station Fort Pierce, Fla.,

An aircraft rescue crew from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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