Mystery over 'New Jersey yacht blast'

Aerial shot of ambulances waiting in Sandy Hook, NJ 11 June 2012 Ambulances waited on a dock as Coast Guard helicopters were called to the scene

The US Coast Guard has suspended a search for 21 people apparently missing after a reported explosion on a yacht off the coast of New Jersey, amid suggestions that the report was a hoax.

The Coast Guard made the announcement after several hours of fruitless searching for victims.

Officials received an emergency transmission, apparently from a boat identifying itself as the Blind Date.

It was reportedly 17 miles (27km) from Sandy Hook, off New Jersey's coast.

Lt Joe Klinker told the AP it was "highly unusual" for the Coast Guard get to the reported position quickly but not locate anything or see any sign of distress.

The owners of the yachts Blind Date and Blind Date II told ABC News that their boats were not lost at sea, but mentioned a third yacht called Blind Date based in the Netherlands.

The Coast Guard confirmed to the BBC that the caller told them 21 passengers were on board.

A nearby boat was said to be helping the injured while they waited in lifeboats for the Coast Guard to arrive, ABC News reported.

TV pictures showed ambulances waiting by the side of a dock with stretchers at the ready in Sandy Hook.

The site is a popular getaway spot for New York residents, as it is a short ferry ride from lower Manhattan.

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