COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Authorities suspended a three-day search for a helicopter that a 911 caller said went down with six people on board, and officials were considering whether the anguished-sounding caller had played a hoax.
The caller _ at times sounding like he was sobbing, other times sounding disoriented _ told an emergency operator Saturday night he was a passenger and that the pilot was dead.
The caller said his name was Larry Bishop and that the flight was heading from North Carolina to Kansas City. The call, cut off after four minutes, appeared to originate in a soybean field, authorities said.
Searchers combed sometimes-dense terrain in central Missouri into Monday, using helicopters, planes, dogs and horses.
Nothing was found. No helicopters were reported missing; nearby airports reported no emergency calls; and there were no other reports from the public to validate the 911 call.
The search was suspended Monday night, and authorities were meeting Tuesday morning to discuss what to do next, said Steve Paulsell, chief of the Boone County Fire Protection District.
Rob Brown, a spokesman for the fire district, wasn't ready to dismiss the call as a hoax, noting that wreckage from some crashes has been found months later.
Brown played the 911 call for reporters Monday, saying its tone showed ``why we still put some credence in continuing the search.''
The male voice tells the operator: ``We're in a helicopter. We're down.'' In response to a question about his location, the man replies, ``I don't know where we're at.''
He says, ``we went down,'' and ``we're down,'' and his voice weakens as if he is sobbing. ``The pilot's dead,'' he says.
Said Brown, ``To me it sounds like someone who's emotional or could be injured.''
If the call is a hoax, ``someone went to an awful lot of trouble to make it seem credible by originating in a field,'' Brown said.
Last month in Meriden, Conn., a woman called 911 repeatedly to report that she had been abducted, sexually assaulted and thrown in a car trunk. Officials determined the calls were a hoax.