(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Coast Guard has released audio recordings of the distress call made by a man claiming to be the captain of a yacht that had exploded off the coast of Sandy Hook, N.J. The call prompted the costly deployment of over 200 responders and a fleet of helicopters and boats into the Atlantic Ocean, before it proved to be a hoax.
In an early transmission, the man calmly told the Coast Guard, “We have three deceased, nine injured. We’ve had an explosion on-board that’s why we’re taking on water. I’m in about three-and-a-half feet of water on the bridge right now.”
In an ensuing dispatch, the man contradicted his earlier transmission by saying, “We have 21 souls on-board, 20 in the water right now.” He added, “I’m going to stay on the radio for as long as I can before I have to go overboard.”
The recording contained five separate transmissions totaling almost a minute and a half.
He also said that everyone had life jackets and that distress beacons were on-board.
The caller displayed some basic nautical knowledge, saying that his electronic communications array was down, which is why he called via solar radio. He also had fairly precise coordinates for their location, saying they were 17.5 miles east of Sandy Hook.
The last transmission cuts off ominously, with the caller saying “I’m dealing with 2nd and 3rd degree…” He was presumably speaking about burns suffered by the supposed victims of the explosion.
The U.S. Coast Guard has launched an investigation into a yacht explosion hoax call made by the realistic-sounding “captain.”
The prankster faces a maximum of five to 10 years in prison for the federal crime, a $250,000 fine and a reimbursement to the government for the cost of the search.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ralph Ellis and Sara Sidner, CNN
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Claire Moran, CNN
Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz and Holly Yan, CNN