Authorities say a 13 year old was rescued from the Merrimack River on the Methuen and Haverhill, Massachusetts, town lines Tuesday night. Officials continued to search well into the night for a reported missing 17-year-old boater that they later learned never existed.
Wednesday's search was called off after Haverhill police learned that the teen had acted alone and stole the boat. No one actually fell overboard.
Police say the 13 year old told them that the 17 year old had stolen the boat and then proceeded to pick him up. He then told them that the 17 year old fell into the river and never resurfaced. The boy's account of the events sparked a massive search of the river.
No evidence of a missing person turned up after an extensive search. Upon further investigation, police deemed the boy's story to be inaccurate.
They then interviewed the 13 year old and learned that he indeed had stolen the boat, along with another juvenile boy. When the boat broke down, the 17 year old jumped out and swam to shore. The 13 year old awaited a rescue team.
Crews searched the area of the river off River Street. Haverhill Fire concentrated their search between Comeau Bridge and the I-495 bridge.
Massachusetts State Police's helicopter and Methuen Fire officials aided in the search Tuesday.
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At this time police are confident that all parties are accounted for and no one is missing in the Merrimack River.
The investigation is ongoing and charges are likely.