The U.S. Coast Guard launched a six-hour search in Penobscot Bay this afternoon for a possible sinking boat but now suspects the call may have been a hoax.

Coast Guard Lt. Bryan Hollis said a distress call came in about noon from a man identifying himself as Elwood Patton aboard the Steven Bowden, a fishing boat, which the caller said was sinking somewhere between Deer Isle and Vinalhaven.

A search was launched with two Coast Guard helicopters, a jet and a boat out of Rockland along with help from the Maine Marine Patrol, Knox County Sheriff and two private volunteer vessels.

The search was called off at dark and will not be resumed. The cost of the search was estimated at $176,000.

Hollis said the searchers were unable to find any sign of the vessel and now believe the call was a hoax. Hollis said the Coast Guard received a unidentified distress call placed from the same area on Friday.

The Coast Guard is asking anyone with any information about the incident to call 207-741-5465.

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