UPDATE: Coast Guard Says Reports of Family Abandoning Boat Off Central Coast May Be a Hoax

By: Sylvia Ramirez - Tue, 26 Feb 2013 14:01:53 -0800

(BCN) The U.S. Coast Guard has called off its search for a man, woman and two children who reportedly abandoned ship off the coast of Monterey County on Sunday afternoon saying that the report could have been a hoax.

The search was suspended at about 9:40 a.m. Tuesday.

Coast Guard boats and aircraft had been scouring the waters about 65 miles off the Monterey coast since about 4:20 p.m. Sunday, when the family made a distress call to Coast Guard Sector San Francisco.

The caller said he was on a boat, possibly named "Charmblow," with his wife, their 4-year-old son and the boy's young cousin.

The man told the Coast Guard that the vessel's electronics system was failing, and then said over a choppy radio connection that the family had decided to abandon ship, according to the Coast Guard.

Chief Petty Officer Mike Lutz said it is not clear how many life rafts the family had with them, but that there was no life raft. In the last dispatch from the boat at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, the man said the family was trying to string together a cooler and a life ring to cling to.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Barry Bena said there have been no missing-persons reports that would help identify the family.

Lutz said the Coast Guard has checked local marinas for information about a boat named "Charmblow" or something similar, to no avail.

However, although the search has been called off, the Coast Guard is still treating the incident as a legitimate distress call, Lutz said.

(Copyright 2013, Bay City News, All rights reserved.)
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