U.S. Coast Guard crew responding to a distress call off Isle au Haut early Saturday morning scoured the ocean for more than 10 hours looking for a foundering fishing boat, but found nothing.
Officials called off the search just before 1 p.m. Saturday and classified the call as a probable hoax, said Coast Guard Chief Ilya Atamaniuk.
“It was a lot of effort and a lot of frozen coasties,” he said.
The distress call that came in at 2:22 a.m. said, “Mayday, this is Kristy Lynn hailing the Coast Guard,” according to Atamaniuk. The Coast Guard responded by sending out a Falcon jet with four crewmembers and a four-man, 47-foot motor lifeboat from the Rockland station.
“It was brutal on the ocean with the wind chill,” Atamaniuk said. The air temperature was 17 degrees at sea, and the wind was blowing at 35 knots.
One complication arose because the Coast Guard was uncertain of the correct spelling of Kristy Lynn.
“We located different Kristy Lynns and tried to track down the owners. Nothing,” Atamaniuk said.
They did speak with the owner of one Kristy Lynn, but he was safely fishing in Muscongus Bay.
“We didn’t treat it as a hoax at first,” Atamaniuk said. “We had to finally come up with some kind of category. Either they’ve sunk or it’s a possible hoax. Now, if some vessel does come in overdue named Kristy Lynn, we can reopen that case. We hope that doesn’t happen.”