Coast Guard says LBI search for missing aircraft a ‘false alert’
LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP — The report of a downed aircraft in the ocean off Long Beach Island on Thursday is considered to be a "false alert" by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard along with the Ocean County Sheriff's Office, Long Beach Township police and State Police scrambled into search mode around 11:30 a.m. after Ocean County Dispatch received a call.
The caller said a glider with possibly up to three people on board went down near 26th Street in Long Beach.
"The Coast Guard takes all reports of possible search and rescue events seriously until we’ve confirmed distress or non-distress," Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Emily Velez told New Jersey 101.5. Yesterday’s case was a suspected false alert."
Some of the agencies that initially responded left during the course of the search but the Coast Guard did not end its search until 5:37 p.m.
Velez said that interviews conducted by the Coast Guard determined no one on the beach saw an aircraft in the area. The FAA and area airports did not have reports of missing or overdue planes and no one has been reported missing.
"The area was quickly and thoroughly searched by the Coast Guard and local partners with no signs of distress," Velez said.
The Coast Guard deployed a helicopter and brought in boats from several area stations as part of the search.
Ocean County Sheriff Michael Mastronardy said the county dispatchers, who are part of the Sheriff's Office, passed along the information from a caller who gave his name.
"There's nothing fraudulent about the call to my knowledge. The fact is that the person reported what they thought they saw. If they believed it there's no problem. Any follow up would be by the Coast Guard," Mastronardy said. "We don't want to discourage people from calling in things they think they see.
Velez was not yet able to provide an estimate of the cost of Thursday's search due to the new Juneteenth federal holiday being observed on Friday.