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An Oakland woman is in custody following a boat crash in Alameda this morning that prompted a fruitless eight-hour search for a nonexistent missing passenger. U.S. Coast Guard officials scoured the water for hours following the 1:45 a.m. crash on the breakwater at Ballena Bay after the woman driving the boat told rescuers that a passenger was missing. The woman, whose identity has not yet been released, said that the passenger had left the boat in a smaller watercraft on board, Alameda Police Lt. Ted Horlbeck said.
However, a search for the missing passenger was called off around 9:45 a.m., after it became apparent that the story was made up, officials said. No sign of another person was found during the search, and witnesses on the scene reported no other persons in the area. The boat’s owner also indicated there was no smaller watercraft on board, Horlbeck said.
During the search, investigators determined that the boat had been stolen from the Jack London Square Marina, and that the owner did not realize it was missing. The woman, who was not injured in the crash, was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication and possession of stolen property. Her name was not immediately available.
The National Response Center, the federal agency responsible for responding to oil spills, is working to remove fuel from the boat, and the boat owner’s insurance company is working with the U.S. Coast Guard to arrange for its removal, Horlbeck said.
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