In what now appears to have been an elaborate hoax, the US taxpayer has been left with a search and rescue bill for US$88,000 after the superyacht Blind Date was reported lost at sea to an explosion that threw 20 people into the sea 17 miles off the coast of New Jersey.
In a radio transmission the man claiming to be the yacht’s Captain claimed that of the twenty one people on board at the time of the explosion three had died and nine had suffered severe burns
Trinity Yachts were quick to point out that the distressed vessel was not the yacht they had built and checks on the other yachts that bear that name found that they were safe and sound.
The US Coastguard is now a offering $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person responsible for making the false distress call. Officials said that the call likely came from a land based station, located near southern New York or New Jersey.