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(SANDY HOOK, N.J.) — The Coast Guard is responding to a reported yacht explosion in the Atlantic Ocean about 17.5 miles east of Sandy Hook, N.J. where at least nine passengers were reportedly injured.

Nearly two hours after a distress call saying 21 people had safely abandoned ship but seven had serious burns, neither a flotilla of rescue boats nor a flight of helicopters could find any evidence of the vessel, named “Blind Date” or any wreckage from an explosion, according to the Coast Guard. No victims had been found, either.

After receiving the call, the Coast Guard declared a mass casualty incident and requested multiple helicopters to assist with rescue.

The Coast Guard was notified at 4:20 p.m. of an explosion on board the yacht, according to WABC. Passengers reported that they had suffered “some kind of explosion on the boat,” according to the United States Coast Guard. Authorities do not know the cause or scale of the explosion, if one in fact did occur.

It is highly unusual for there to be no sign of wreckage from a boat 150 feet in length, so soon after an explosion.

According to the distress call, the boat’s 21 passengers were forced to abandon ship into the life rafts but that all were accounted for.  The caller went on to say that a private boat, the “Erica” was nearby and on-scene helping the victims while they waited for the Coast Guard to arrive.

Two New York Police Department helicopters have responded to the scene. Two medevac landing zones are being set up on Sandy Hook and nearby Atlantic Highlands for ambulances to meet.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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