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Coast Guard seeks hoax caller

The Coast Guard unit in the Burlington area of Vermont is seeking the public’s help in tracking down a young hoax caller, according to a report in the Burlington Free Press.

What they believe to be a 10- to 12-year-old boy began broadcasting Sept. 20 on a VHF radio, reporting on channels 16 and 21 that he was on the vessel Fortune, and if anyone needed assistance, they should call him. The second call came Sept. 27 when he radioed Sector Northern New England and reported his “pink” boat, with two people on it, had “tipped over” in ShelburneBay, according to the report. The boy made four calls within a 10-day period, according to officials.

Fortunately, the Coast Guard was able to determine by the tone of the boy’s voice and the background noise that there was no real emergency.

“Hoax calls are not funny,” says Coast Guard Commander Phillip Thorne, chief of response for Sector Northern New England, in the report. “They put the lives of search crews at risk needlessly and take resources away from real search-and-rescue cases.”

Hoax calls are classified as a felony and are punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine of $250,000. To hear the call, visit

— Elizabeth Ellis