Coast Guard seeks assistance in identifying Middle River hoax caller

Mid Atlantic Coast Guard NewsBALTIMORE — The Coast Guard is asking for assistance with locating a hoax caller after they received six false distress calls between May 1 and June 1 and conducted four searches involving multiple air and boat crews from the Coast Guard and local authorities.

All six false distress calls were determined to have originated from the area of Middle River and involved the same male voice transmitting over VHF-FM channel 16 saying “mayday, mayday.”

The Coast Guard’s cost for the searches is estimated to be approximately $70,000.

In addition to cost, there is significant operational impact caused by making false distress calls.

“Making false distress calls limits the Coast Guard and our rescue partners’ capabilities to assist those boaters that are in actual emergency situations,” said Capt. Kevin Kiefer, commander of Sector Baltimore. “Hoax radio calls also place first responders in unnecessary danger as they work to assist the boating public.”

Making a false distress call is a felony punishable by law. The maximum penalty for making a false distress call is six years in prison, a $5,000 civil fine, a $250,000 criminal fine and reimbursement to the Coast Guard.

Anyone with information regarding the calls is asked to contact Coast Guard Investigative Service Baltimore at 410-576-2515.

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