Coast Guard seeks help to find hoax distress caller

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on June 19, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Updated Thursday, Jun 19 at 3:11 PM

The Coast Guard is asking if the public can identify the voice of a man who sent out multiple false distress calls in the Puget Sound area in recent weeks.

Calls sent on May 31 and June 1 reported a sinking fishing vessel in Hood Canal off Lilliwaup with a baby and two adults on board.

The hoax let to a search that cost the Coast Guard more than $200,000 in fuel, maintenance and other expenses.

The Coast Guard said there was another call on June 2, in which someone reported finding a body. It’s believed the same person was responsible.

“The Coast Guard takes every distress call seriously,” said Capt. Michael W. Raymond, commander of Sector Puget Sound. “False distress calls tie up valuable search assets and put our crews at risk. They impede our ability to respond to real cases of distress where lives may be in genuine peril.”

Making a false distress call is a federal felony with a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, a $5,000 civil penalty and possible reimbursement to the Coast Guard for the cost of performing the search.

The Coast Guard Investigative Service is asking the public’s help in identifying those responsible for making these false distress calls. Anyone with information is asked to call the Coast Guard 13th District Command Center at 206-220-7003.

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