Transcript for Boat Distress Call Possible Hoax
Now to that may day call from a family stranded at sea off the california coast. But this question -- was it a hoax? Here's abc's nick watt. Reporter: Hundreds of rescuers combing 20,000 square miles of treacherous ocean. The coast guard, the navy, the national guard, a massive search sparked sunday afternoon by this distress call. Coast guard, coast guard, we are abandoning ship. This is the charm blow. We are abandoning ship. Reporter: That man claimed he, his wife and two young children were clinging to a life ring and a cooler after their yacht sank 65 miles off the california coast. We approach every search as if it's our own children. Reporter: Rescuers lay their own lives on the line, but the search turned up nothing, and a yacht called the charm blow? The coast guard can't find it registered anywhere or any missing persons reports that tally. After 42 fruitless hours -- the sector commander has made the determination to suspend active searching on this case. Reporter: An expensive hoax? Last year, authorities spent over $300,000 searching for a party boat called "the blind date" off new jersey. We have three deceased. Nine injured. We've had an explosion on board and that's -- Reporter: Garbage. There was no explosion. And remember balloon boy? The 6-year-old from colorado who apparently floated away on a homemade balloon? He was found hiding in an attic at home. "The charm blow" might now be added to that hall of shame. We are not investigating it directly as a hoax, but we're pushing every avenue. Is a possibility. Reporter: A possibility that all this effort was for nothing. A prank. A joke. But who finds it funny? Nick watt, abc news, los angeles.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.