SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Coast Guard officials have suspended the search for a man and three children after more than 22 hours of searching.
The search began around 10:30 on the morning of Saturday, October 5th. That's when a man made the first of several short mayday calls, saying his boat was in distress.
Throughout the calls, the man says he is with three children.
In audio released by the Coast Guard, the caller says, "Mayday. Mayday. Children are in the water now and I got to bail out. And we're all just going to all huddle together and I'm going to try to get us back on top of the Jon Boat. The Jon Boat is flipped over at this time. I'm going to try to get the kids on the boat--on the top of the boat if possible. If not, we're all just going to huddle in the water."
The calls stopped coming in around noon. By that time, search and rescue efforts were underway.
According to U.S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue Coordinator Commander James McLay, the man did not identify himself throughout the numerous calls, despite being asked his name multiple times.
"Any identifying information on the individual was not ascertained. We asked, but we were not able to get any information on the individual to help us further our search," says McLay.
Additionally, there have been no reports of missing persons since the mayday call was made.
"We had hundreds of people out there. Not only coast guard resources and rescuers and folks in the command center, but also multiple local agencies assisting in the search and also a lot of good samaritans," says McLay.
McLay says the Coast Guard used the full extent of its sophisticated resources and man power in a search that lasted for more than 22 hours.
McLay says sector commander Brian LeFebvre is responsible for making the call to suspend the search.
"When you combine all of the factors of no reports of missing persons or overdue boaters, and I'd say moderate media coverage, with the public aware of the case, we felt we were in a position that further expenditure in this case without new information would not be prudent at this time," says McClay.
Officials say they won't speculate at this time as to if the call could have been a hoax.
McClay says, "Any time we can't close a case, meaning we can't locate an object or a person or find the source of distress, anytime we have to suspend a case without it being fully closed, we're curious to learn more information."
The Coast Guard is asking for anyone with information about the mayday call to contact them.
They released audio from the mayday call with the goal of someone being able to identify the voice at the other end of the call.