A U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman says a call was received at a Guard station on Staten Island Wednesday night at9:45 p.m.
Authorities say the Coast Guard contacted the Fairfield police after receiving a transmission reporting a boat carrying three people becoming disabled in the Passaic River. The transmission said the boat was taking on water.
Boats from the Fairfield and Lincoln Park Fire Departments and a helicopter from the New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit were launched to begin an extensive search.
They spent three hours searching, but never found any indication of a boat in trouble before darkness settled over the area.
The search resumed the next day, but again nothing was found. Crews spent five hours searching before calling it off.
Authorities said they found no signs of boat trailers without boats on them anywhere along the river in Fairfield.
No missing person reports indicating three individuals were missing have been filed.
Officials added that no phone calls were received from anyone who may have been on this boat and that no eyewitnesses have come forward to indicate they saw a boat on the water.
Investigators believe that this incident was a hoax, so now a criminal investigation has been launched. The Essex County Prosecutor's Office has also been notified.
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