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Coast Guard seeks information on Maine distress call, including possibility of hoax

By ANDREW MARTINEZ | Boston Herald | Published: October 8, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — The U.S. Coast Guard is looking further into a distress call Saturday purportedly from from a missing boater and three children off the coast of Kennebunkport, Maine, including the possibility the call was a hoax.

The Coast Guard suspended its search Sunday morning for the man, who in a distress call Saturday evening said his 14-foot jon boat capsized and three children wearing life jackets aboard were in the water, after searching for 22 hours over 1,500 square nautical miles.

“Additional information may aid in our closure of the case and offer a degree of finality to the many rescuers who dedicated their time and effort toward this search effort,” said Capt. Brian Lefebvre, Coast Guard Sector Northern New England commander in a statement.

In a 31-second audio clip of the distress call released on Twitter by the First Coast Guard District, a man can be heard saying in a monotone voice he and the children were going to huddle in the water.

Mayday, Mayday,” the man says, “Children are in the water now, and I gotta bail out. And we’re just going to all huddle together. I’m going to try to get us on back on the top of the jon boat, jon boat is flipped over at this time. And I’m going to try to get the kids on the boat, on the top of the boat, lift them up. If possible. If not, we’re all just gonna huddle in the water.”

A jon boat is a small, flat-bottomed fishing boat used close to the coast and in marshes and esturaries. It is not usually used on the open ocean.

Both Kennebunkport and Wells, Maine, police departments said Sunday they received no reports of missing persons and were not involved in the investigation.

If you have any information about the distress call, please contact Sector Northern New England at 207-741-5478.

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