Coast Guard and Crime Stoppers offer reward for finding false distress caller

9th Coast Guard District NewsCLEVELAND — The Coast Guard Investigative Service, in partnership with Crime Stoppers of Michigan, announces today that they are offering a reward of up to $3,500 for information leading to the identification and conviction of the person(s) responsible for communicating a series of false distress calls to the Coast Guard.

The series of false distress or “mayday” calls have been transmitted over marine band radio, VHF-FM Channel 16, the international hailing and distress frequency, since 2010. 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 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.

“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 are urged to contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 313-568-9560 or Crime Stoppers of Michigan at 1-800-SPEAKUP.

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