The Coast Guard is investigating a possible hoax call after multiple Coast Guard assets and partner agencies responded to a distress call that was made near Beaufort, N.C.
As part of this investigation, the Coast Guard is seeking the public’s assistance to identify the caller or provide additional information.
Coast Guard Sector North Carolina Command Center watchstanders received a mayday call at approximately 2:45 a.m. Sunday via VHF Ch. 16. The caller identified himself as a boater in distress and reported he had five adults and two children on his vessel that was taking on water in the vicinity of the Core Creek Bridge.
The watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast and launched a crew aboard a 24-foot Special Purpose Craft-Shallow Water from Coast Guard Station Fort Macon, N.C.
A CH-43 helicopter from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Emergency Rescue Squadron “PEDRO,” Towboat U.S., and Atlantic Beach and Morehead City Fire Department personnel assisted in the search.
Under federal law, knowingly and willfully transmitting a hoax distress call is a felony. It is punishable by up to six years in prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution to the Coast Guard for the cost of performing the search.
The Coast Guard Investigative Service is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for the positive identification of the person involved with the hoax call.