Oahu Man Pleads Guiltiy to Felony False Mayday Call

HONOLULU – Justin J. Aquino, 19, of Oahu, Monday afternoon was sentenced to five years supervised probation and 100 hours of community service following his guilty plea to a felony charge of making a false Mayday call to the Coast Guard March 8, 2006. He was also ordered to reimburse the Coast Guard $29,000 for costs incurred in responding to the false distress call.

Aquino used a marine-band radio to make a Mayday call on VHF-FM Channel 16 reporting that while he was out sailing he witnessed the sailing vessel Angry Beaver 1, with two people aboard, sinking about 12 miles south of Honolulu Harbor. Aquino described the Angry Beaver 1’s physical characteristics, specifying that the bow was halfway underwater, that the crew did not have a radio or mobile phone on board, and that the sailing vessel would likely sink within five minutes. He gave a false name and contact information to the Coast Guard’s search and rescue coordinator.

Based specifically on the information provided by Aquino during this Mayday call, the Coast Guard’s Sector Honolulu rescue coordinator dispatched small boats and aircraft to the reported location. Once on scene the rescuers found no signs of the two persons, the sailing vessel Angry Beaver 1 or any other signs of distress. Further investigation by the Coast Guard Investigative Service confirmed that neither Aquino nor the Angry Beaver 1 had left Keehi Boat Harbor that day.

The case file was forwarded to the U.S. Attorney’s office here which prosecuted the case.

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