The Coast Guard is searching for man suspected of making seven fake “mayday” calls in North Carolina over the past two years, prompting search efforts that cost $150,000, the Guard said Tuesday.
In at least one of the calls, which were made between September and December of 2012, 2013 and again this year, the male caller reports “mayday, mayday, mayday … this is hook, line and sinker.” The Coast Guard is offering a $2,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
"When the Coast Guard dispatches vessels and aircraft for false distress broadcasts, it obligates limited resources to unnecessary searches and puts additional costs on the Coast Guard and the taxpayer," Lt. Lane Munroe, public affairs officer at Sector North Carolina, said in a statement. "Above all else, it puts the lives of our personnel at risk."
Bogus calls to the Coast Guard have happened before in North Carolina. Charles Robert Dowd Jr. and Brandon Paul Garner were indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 14, alleging they mad fake distress calls to the Coast Guard on Oct. 20, 2013, according to court documents. Their cases are pending. They face five years in prison and fines.
— Phil Helsel