SANTA CRUZ, Calif. » The Coast Guard today called off the search for a boat that reportedly sank far off the Central California coast with two adults and two children on board, saying the family’s distress calls could have been a hoax.
Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Mike Lutz said crews found no debris and no physical signs of distress after searching for nearly 48 hours.
The group — which included two children under 8 — was approximately 65 miles off Monterey when their first distress call came in around 4:20 p.m. Sunday, Coast Guard officials have said.
The boaters said their 29-foot sailboat, which might have been called "Charmblow," was taking on water and their electronics were failing.
An hour later, the family members reported they had to abandon the boat and were trying to make a life raft out of a cooler and life-preserver ring. The Coast Guard then lost radio contact.
The agency received no reports about a family missing at sea.
Crews have searched by sea and air since the distress calls came in. On Monday, the Coast Guard released one of the recorded calls in hopes that it would lead to new information from the public that could help in the search.
In the crackling recording, a man’s voice is heard saying, "Coast Guard, Coast Guard, we are abandoning ship. This is the (Charmblow), we are abandoning ship."
Investigators determined from the broken distress calls that the family included a husband and wife, their 4-year-old son and his cousin, Lampert said.
The boat’s location initially was reported farther north, but Lampert said investigators now believe the call came from west of Monterey Bay, about 100 miles south of San Francisco. The boat did not have a working GPS system.