NATION : No Sign of Foundering Fishing Boat

<i> From Times wire service</i> s

The Coast Guard said today it has found no sign of a sport-fishing boat that radioed a distress call off the Virginia coast late Thursday and indicated 10 people aboard were abandoning ship. Officials said they feared the boat had sunk but they couldn’t rule out a hoax.

“The helicopter is having a tough time due to the fog,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Rick Woods. “Visibility was almost zero last night, and it’s real low this morning.” Officials said an 84-square-mile area was being searched by three Coast Guard cutters, two Navy ships and the helicopter.

But Coast Guard officials have been unable to find any registration records for a 52-foot vessel called the Blue Goose and were considering the possibility that the distress call was a hoax.