The U.S. Coast Guard says it has suspended its search for a man and three children who sent a distress signal off the coast of Kennebunkport on Saturday.

In an audio recording of several short Mayday calls, the man never identifies himself, despite being asked several times to give his name, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard declined to speculate on whether they thought the distress calls were a hoax, but told News Center Maine (WCSH/WLBZ) that as of Sunday evening there were no reports of missing persons.

“Any time we can’t close a case, meaning we can’t locate an object or a person or find the source of distress, anytime we have to suspend a case without it being fully closed, we’re curious to learn more information,” Cmdr. James McLay, search and rescue mission coordinator for the USCG Northern New England sector.

The Coast Guard released an audio clip of the distress calls on Saturday in the hope that someone might be able to identify the caller’s voice.

The first in a series of distress calls was received around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. In them, a man says his 14-foot Jon boat was capsizing with three children onboard. Jon boats are flat bottomed with two or three bench seats. They are typically used for fishing or hunting on inland waters.

The man calmly says during the distress call that the boat has flipped over and that he is going to try to get the children on top of the boat. If he is unable to get the kids onto the top of the boat, the man says, “We’re all just going to huddle in the water.”

Before losing his radio connection with the Coast Guard, he said all occupants of the boat had life vests.

Authorities launched a search mission from the South Portland and Portsmouth Coast Guard stations, using the cutter Reef Shark and a helicopter from the air station on Cape Cod.

The Coast Guard’s search spanned 1,523 nautical square miles (a nautical mile is slightly longer than a standard mile) and took 22 hours before officials called it off “pending new information” at 8 a.m. Sunday. The Coast Guard said hundreds of people were involved in the search.

“We take all calls for help seriously,”  McClay said in a news release. “We utilized every resource at our disposal and applied an extraordinary amount of search effort to locate these boaters. If there was anyone in distress we gave them the best possible chance for rescue.”

“Any identifying information on the individual was not ascertained. We asked, but we were not able to get any information on the individual to help us further our search,” McLay told News Center Maine (WCSH/WLBZ).

The Coast Guard said the man did not provide the name of his vessel.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.

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