The Coast Guard Investigative Service and Crime Stoppers of Michigan announced today that they're offering up to $3,500 for information leading to the identification and conviction of those responsible for communicating a series of false distress calls to the Coast Guard in 2010.
According to the Coast Guard, the mayday calls were transmitted over marine band radio, VHF-FM Channel 16, which has been the international distress frequency since 2010. The calls feature a person or persons claiming to be in distress on a plane or boat in Lake Erie. The calls are believed to have originated from the Bolles Harbor area south of Monroe, Mich.
"Anyone who carries out false distress calls is endangering everyone on the water — both the emergency responders who commence searching and the entire maritime community," said Lt. Justin Westmiller, chief of the Coast Guard Sector Detroit Command Center. "When rescuers are diverted on false alarms, it may impair their ability to respond to mariners who are actually in distress."
It is a federal violation to communicate a false distress message to the Coast Guard or cause the Coast Guard to attempt to save lives and property when no help is needed.
Anyone with information concerning these false distress calls are urged to contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 313-568-9560 or Crime Stoppers of Michigan at 1-800-SPEAKUP. Audio recordings of the distress calls are available at http://www.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/1658055/