TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Fake calls of distress costs $200,000, Coast Guard says

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By Reuters
Thursday, June 19, 2014, 6:42 p.m.
 

SEATTLE — The Coast Guard is working to track down a prankster who called in fake distress calls that led agency officials to begin two rescue efforts that cost over $200,000, an official said on Thursday.

The suspect made his first call over VHF radio on May 31, reporting he was on a burning fishing vessel in Puget Sound and that he and four other people were grabbing life jackets and jumping off, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Two Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews, the team of a 45-foot Coast Guard rescue boat and the crew of a local Sheriff's Office vessel searched for the fishing boat said to be on fire, but found nothing.

On June 1, the man made a similar call reporting that he and another adult and a child were abandoning a vessel taking on water, the Coast Guard said. The caller initially called his ship the Bristol Maid, the same name he used the night before, but then changed that to the Aleutian Beauty.

Despite that clue the call might be a hoax, the Coast Guard began a similar rescue operation for the ship, and again did not succeed in finding any vessel in distress, said Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer First Class David Mosley.

The same suspected hoax caller on June 2 reported seeing a body on the shore, but the Coast Guard did not dispatch a search team to respond, Mosley said. Seeking to identify the hoax caller, the Coast Guard on Wednesday released recordings of his three bogus transmissions.

If found, the Washington state hoax caller could be charged with making a fake distress call, which carries a term of up to 10 years in prison, Mosley said. He also could be forced to compensate the agency for the two search operations.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. McCain renews push to have military, not CIA, manage drone strikes
  2. Supreme Court leans toward legalizing gay marriage nationally
  3. High morale linked to longer survival among elderly
  4. At New York City rally, United States urged to acknowledge slaughter of Armenians as genocide
  5. Study a surprise: Commercial bees unfazed by pesticides
  6. 15 buffalo that escaped from farm killed in upstate N.Y.
  7. Magma chamber spied under Yellowstone volcano
  8. Hostility at VA lingers, panel told
  9. AG misled Congress on spying dispute, Bush-era report says
  10. Residents near N.C. ash dumps told not to drink well water
  11. Alarm at George H.W. Bush’s home broken for 13 months, watchdog says