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Officials are trying to find the culprit behind a hoax distress call that led to a massive search for a crippled yacht on Monday.

The caller claimed 21 people had abandoned ship into life rafts after an explosion aboard a yacht near Sandy Hook, N.J. Several people were said to have been injured.

A frantic search was launched, with 200 people hunting by boat and helicopter. But no signs of debris, life rafts or people were found and the search was suspended on Monday night, the U.S. Coast Guard said. The search cost taxpayers at least $88,000.

"We're quite sure it's a hoax at this time," Coast Guard Capt. Gregory P. Hitchen said in a news conference yesterday.

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