Search for 21 passengers hurt in explosion onboard a superyacht baffles New Jersey authorities

Six helicopters, two boats, 15 ambulances and numerous emergency vehicles were called out to assist following a report of a boat exploding 17 miles off the coast of New Jersey, USA.

The initial alert at 4:20pm (local time) reported that the boat, Blind Date, a 160ft (49m) super yacht, had exploded and the 21 passengers and crew had jumped overboard.

A nearby boat was reported by ABC News to be assisting the injured whilst they waited for the Coast Guard.

However, three hours after the report had come in, the Coast Guard was unable to find the boat or evidence of crew. An area of Fort Hancock, in Sandy Hook, had been cordoned off for treating patients, but many of the emergency vehicles were released and returned to their depot.

Max Ross, an emergency medical technician from Rumson, told NJ.com, “They’re still treating it as if it’s real, but they haven’t found anything.”

The case is being investigated as a possible hoax call according to the Coast Guard. Information leading to the arrest and prosecution of anyone responsible will lead to an award of $1000.

Making a false distress call is a federal felony, which has the penalty of five to 10 years in prison along with a $250,000 fine.