Coast Guard calls off search for boat

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended a search-and-rescue mission Monday afternoon on the North Shore after a radio call from a boater said "Mayday, I'm going down in Carnelian Bay!"

The call came in around 2 p.m. and led the Coast Guard, four law enforcement boats and two helicopters to conduct a three-hour search of bays. The search turned up nothing other than a menu, two oars and a few pieces of trash.

"I truly believe if there was something out there, we would have found it by now," said Coast Guard Petty Officer Nathan Blackwell.

"Basically, we're waiting for further development. If we get a report of someone overdue or if someone calls up and says they see something, we'll open the case back up."

The Coast Guard will look again this morning for anything resembling the boat, regardless if a missing report is made.

Blackwell said he took the emergency call from the boater and believes it was legitimate. He speculated that the captain could have made the call thinking the boat was going to sink.

"Maybe he got spooked and panicked," Blackwell said.

Blackwell said Lake Tahoe had 2-foot waves at the time of the distress call.

Because there were many resources and equipment used during the search, Placer County Sheriff's Deputy Fred Carey said if the call turns out to be a prank, the caller could be prosecuted.

Appeal News Service reporter Merry Thomas contributed to this report.


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