Saturday, January 28, 2012

U.S. Coast Guard Needs Your Help to Identify Hoax Distress Caller - plane or boat in Lake Erie

The U.S. Coast Guard's Investigative Service, in partnership with Crime Stoppers of Michigan, is trying to track down the person responsible for a series of false distress calls to the Coast Guard.

The calls have been transmitted over marine band radio, VHF-FM Channel 16 — the international hailing and distress frequency, since 2010, according to the Coast Guard. The person in the calls claims to be in distress on a plane or boat in Lake Erie.

Investigators believe the calls may have originated from the Bolles Harbor region, south of Monroe Michigan.

A portion of the calls can be heard here (Audio 1) and here (Audio 2).

The calls, which feature a person or persons claiming to be in distress on a plane or boat in Lake Erie, are believed to have originated from the Bolles Harbor region south of Monroe, Mich.


The Coast Guard is offering a reward of up to $3,500 for information leading to the identification and conviction of the person or people reponsible for the fake calls.

"The Coast Guard and other emergency response organizations must take all distress calls seriously — the maritime environment can be far too dangerous to do otherwise," said Chief Petty Officer Gabriel Settel, Coast Guard Sector Detroit Command Center supervisor, in a statement Friday.

"False distress calls are dangerous because they put those mariners who are actually in danger at added risk because crews are preoccupied with needless searches," said Settel.  "Additionally, the maritime environment is inherently dangerous, so false distress calls put emergency responders at unnecessary risk.  Finally, these hoax calls waste taxpayer dollars."

Anyone with information concerning these false distress calls can contact the Coast Guard at 313-568-9560 or Crime Stoppers of Michigan at 1-800-SPEAKUP.


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