Search is on after empty boat found on Mount Hope Bay

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PORTSMOUTH — Rescue boats scrambled to Mount Hope Bay Friday morning after a small boat was found floating with nobody aboard at around 8:30 a.m. Inside the boat, one official said, was a fishing rod and live bait — green crab often used for blackfish. The Coast Guard later described the boat as an 8-foot white fiberglass skiff. It also contained a  University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Soccer windbreaker jacket with the number 23 on it
Boats from all around the bay converged on an area roughly between Common Fence Point in Portsmouth and Mount Hope in Bristol. The empty boat was turned over to a Coast Guard vessel as efforts were made to trace any identification numbers.
Newly apppointed Portsmouth Fire Chief Michael Cranson coordinated the search from shore at Common Fence Boulevard. Out on the water were boats from Portsmouth, Tiverton, Bristol, Swansea and the Coast Guard. Some searched the area around where the boat was found, others fanned out to nearby shorelines. Later, a Coast Guard helicopter joined the  search. The bay was nearly flat calm with light winds and excellent visibility. Updates will be provided as available.  

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