Coast Guard experiences spike in suspected hoax distress cases in NC, Va.

Coast Guard experiences spike in suspected hoax distress cases in NC, Va.
PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Coast Guard command centers in North Carolina and Virginia experienced an increase in suspected hoax distress calls in November. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Carolina in Wilmington and Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads in Portsmouth typically notice a spike in the amount of traffic on VHF-FM channel 16 during the late fall, as well as an increase in suspected false distress...

Coast Guard seeking assistance in identifying Annapolis, Md. hoax caller

Coast Guard seeking assistance in identifying Annapolis, Md. hoax caller
BALTIMORE — The Coast Guard requests the public’s assistance in locating a hoax caller who made 28 false distress alerts since July of 2014. All calls were determined to have originated from the Annapolis, Maryland, area between Loretta Heights and Admiral Drive along 450/West Street and involved the same male voice transmitting over VHF-FM marine radio channel 16. The two most recent calls were...

Coast Guard warns of consequences for false mayday calls

Coast Guard warns of consequences for false mayday calls
WARRENTON, Ore. – The Coast Guard is warning individuals who make false mayday reports to the Coast Guard, that there are consequences to those actions. Coast Guard Sector Columbia River Command Center personnel have received four potentially false mayday calls in the last two weeks. “Hoax calls waste valuable time and resources, but most importantly it potentially puts responding personnel in...

Coast Guard suspends search for two boaters; investigates distress call as probable hoax

Coast Guard suspends search for two boaters; investigates distress call as probable hoax
CRESCENT BEACH, Fla. — The Coast Guard suspended its search for two boaters who reportedly abandoned ship three miles off of Crescent Beach Wednesday, at 10:41 a.m., Thursday. Coast Guard search crews covered an area of approximately 87 square nautical miles in an area stretching between five miles north and five miles south of Matanzas Inlet, Florida. The Coast Guard search lasted approximately...

Virginia man sentenced to 14 months in prison for false distress report

Virginia man sentenced to 14 months in prison for false distress report
PORTSMOUTH, Va. — A Smithfield man was sentenced Monday in U.S. Federal Court in Newport News for falsifying statements to law enforcement officers in 2014, which launched a search and rescue operation involving multiple agencies. Bryan Serafini, 43, was sentenced to 14 months incarceration, three years supervised probation and full restitution of $117,913 in costs associated with the search. Serafini...

Chicago woman sentenced for making hoax distress call in 2013

Chicago woman sentenced for making hoax distress call in 2013
CHICAGO – A Chicago woman was sentenced in federal court Thursday for making a false distress call nearly two years ago which led to several agencies launching a dangerous search and rescue operation in Lake Michigan off of Rogers Park Beach. Leona Chewning, 24, was sentenced to 180 days of community confinement, three years of probation and $13,613 in restitution for knowingly and willfully...

Coast Guard warns of the impact of hoax distress calls

Coast Guard warns of the impact of hoax distress calls
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine – Coast Guard Sector Northern New England responds to more than twelve cases on a typical summer day. False alerts restrict their ability to respond to real emergencies. In 2014, Sector Northern New England responded to 464 search and rescue cases: 76 were never resolved. “When our searches come up empty-handed, the hardest part is never knowing whether the distress was real...

Coast Guard seeks public’s help in identifying hoax caller – Audio available

Coast Guard seeks public's help in identifying hoax caller - Audio available
SEATTLE — The U.S. Coast Guard is seeking the public’s help in identifying a hoax caller that made multiple false distress calls earlier this month in the Puget Sound area. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service Puget Sound in Seattle received a Mayday call via VHF-FM radio channel 14 around 11 p.m., May 31, reporting that five people were donning life jackets and abandoning the fishing vessel Bristol...

Coast Guard responds to report of person in water, determine emergency was hoax

CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard and the Chicago Police Department responded to a report of a person in the water near Edgewater Beach in Chicago on Sunday morning. Just before 8 a.m., a 911 dispatcher notified the Coast Guard that they had received a report that a person had slipped into the water but were not able to collect any further information before the reporting source’s cell phone lost power. Boat...