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Search for lost paraglider in Newport Beach may have been sparked by false claim

November 23, 2009 |  7:48 am
A search for a lost paraglider in Newport Beach may be called off this morning because authorities suspect the initial report may have been a false claim.

The search began after a woman contacted the Orange County Sheriff's Department at 5:30 p.m. Sunday and reported a paraglider was missing in the Pacific Ocean one mile west of 36th Street in Newport Beach, said Lt. Tyler Stutin of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The U.S. Coast Guard then dispatched a helicopter, a cutter and a utility boat to begin the search that lasted through the night.

However, when the woman was contacted by the Newport Beach Police Department, she said she heard the story secondhand from a group of surfers. Stutin said they are now considering the search a "suspected false claim."

Nothing has been found so far, Stutin said. The helicopter will be sent out to do a final search early this morning, but if nothing turns up, they will "suspend the entire operation," he said.

-- Baxter Holmes